Investors, Companies and Other Stakeholders Encouraged to Participate in ISS’ Annual Policy Survey and Development Process
ROCKVILLE, Md. (August 29, 2023) – Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS), a leading provider of corporate governance and responsible investment solutions to financial market participants, today launched its Annual Benchmark Policy Survey, a key component of ISS’ annual policy development process regarding potential ISS policy changes for 2024 and beyond. Institutional investors, public companies, corporate directors, and all other interested market constituents are invited to respond to the survey.
By way of background, ISS’ Benchmark Policy and voting guidelines are designed to provide analysis and voting recommendations consistent with ISS’ Global Voting Principles covering the four key tenets of accountability, stewardship, independence, and transparency, and to assist institutional investors in meeting their fiduciary requirements with respect to voting by promoting long-term shareholder value creation and risk mitigation by reference to responsible global corporate governance practices.
This year’s survey begins with governance and stewardship topics specific to certain markets – U.S. non-GAAP incentive pay program metrics, Return On Equity (ROE) as a factor in Director Elections in Japan, and South Korea Director Accountability for material governance failures. The survey then seeks views on two global governance topics – Director Independence classification with regard to Professional Services and Cross-Market/Foreign Private Issuer policy.
Finally, the survey invites views on a number of global environmental and social (E&S) topics, in light of evolving regulations, guidelines, standards, and frameworks, particularly regarding climate change. This is also against a backdrop of the increasing number and type of shareholder proposals on E&S-related topics over the last few years, especially, although not exclusively, in the U.S..
“Our annual policy survey is an important mechanism by which we invite and obtain robust feedback from a wide range of market participants and we encourage all interested parties to share their views by participating in the survey,” said Georgina Marshall, ISS’ Global Head of Research. “The results inform our policy development in a variety of ways, and we firmly believe that our commitment to this approach continues to enhance the value and relevance of our policies and of the research and vote recommendations we deliver to clients.”
The survey is slated to close on September 21, 2023, at 5 p.m. ET.
In addition to the annual survey and in keeping with its long-standing practices, ISS conducts a variety of regionally-based, topic-specific roundtable discussions and other engagements, gathering further input from investors, company directors, and others. These also factor into the update and development of ISS’ policy guidelines. As in prior years, after analysis and consideration of the survey responses and other key inputs, ISS will open a public comment period for all interested market participants on any key proposed changes to its voting policies for next year. The open comment period is designed to elicit objective and specific feedback from all interested market constituents on the practical implementation of any proposed policy updates before final policy changes for next proxy season and beyond are published later in the year.
This year’s Annual Benchmark Policy Survey can be accessed here.
Sarah Ball, Executive Director, Communications