ROCKVILLE, Md. (August 3, 2022) – Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS), a leading provider of corporate governance and responsible investment solutions to financial market participants, today launched its Annual Global Benchmark Policy Survey, a key component of ISS’ annual policy development process to assess potential policy changes across regions and markets for 2023 and beyond. Institutional investors, public companies, corporate directors, and all other interested market constituents are invited to respond to the survey.
This year’s survey first covers the global topic of climate change risk management with a focus on specific questions concerning climate-related board accountability, climate transition plans and management “say on climate” resolutions, climate risk as a critical audit matter, and financed emissions for companies in the financial sector.
Then, drilling down by markets and regions, the survey seeks views on several emerging trends and issues expected to shape the governance and stewardship landscape ahead. For the U.S., questions cover potential benchmark policy exemptions for multi-class capital structures, handling of problematic governance structures, share issuance mandates at cross-market companies under ISS’ U.S. policy coverage, and views on proposals calling for third-party racial equity and civil rights audits. With regard to the U.K. and Ireland, survey questions cover audit-related matters and assessment of executive pay increases, while questions applicable to Continental Europe cover multi-class share structures and unequal voting rights, as well as virtual-only meetings. For emerging markets, the survey focuses on share repurchases in Sub-Saharan African markets.
“Our annual policy survey is an important mechanism by which we 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 will inform our policy development in a variety of ways, and we firmly believe that our commitment to this approach enhances the continuing value and relevance of our policies and, therefore, of the research and vote recommendations we deliver to clients.”
The survey is slated to close on August 31, 2022, at 5pm ET.
In addition to the annual survey and in keeping with its long-standing practice, ISS will conduct a variety of regionally based, topic-specific roundtable discussions and other engagements over the summer and into the fall, gathering broad input from investors, company directors, and others that will also factor into the update and development of ISS’ policy guidelines. As in prior years, after analysis and consideration of the survey responses and the other key inputs, ISS will open a public comment period in October for all interested market participants on key proposed changes to its voting policies for next year. The open comment period in October is designed to elicit objective, specific feedback from all interested market constituents on the practical implementation of proposed policy updates before final policy changes are determined and published later in the year.
This year’s Annual Global Benchmark Policy Survey can be accessed here.
Founded in 1985, Institutional Shareholder Services group of companies (ISS) empowers investors and companies to build for long-term and sustainable growth by providing high-quality data, analytics and insight. ISS, which is majority owned by Deutsche Börse Group, along with Genstar Capital and ISS management, is a leading provider of corporate governance and responsible investment solutions, market intelligence, fund services, and events and editorial content for institutional investors and corporations, globally. ISS operates on an arm’s-length basis and Deutsche Börse has adopted Principles protecting the independence and integrity of ISS’ research offerings. ISS’ 2,700 employees operate worldwide across more than 30 global offices in 15 countries. Its more than 4,000 clients include many of the world’s leading institutional investors who rely on ISS’ objective and impartial ESG and governance research, market intelligence and fund services and data and analytics, as well as public companies focused on ESG and governance risk mitigation as a shareholder value enhancing measure. Clients rely on ISS’ expertise to help them make informed investment decisions.