ROCKVILLE, Md. (July 28, 2021) – 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 to assess potential policy changes across regions and markets for 2022 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 addresses a variety of emerging and other topics with questions applicable globally related to the use of non-financial ESG performance metrics in executive compensation, racial equity audits, and the continued use of virtual-only shareholder meetings. By region and market, questions also cover potential issues of import for voting at companies across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Brazil.
In tandem, ISS is launching a separate Climate Survey for feedback relevant to both ISS’ benchmark and specialty climate policy evolvement, in order to determine views on minimum criteria for boards in overseeing climate-related risks, plus market sentiment on shareholders having the right to regularly vote on a company’s climate transition plans. The Climate Survey is also designed to elicit feedback specifically relevant to ISS’ specialty climate voting policy, launched last year, which incorporates market disclosures with ISS’ unique and proprietary climate data, research, and issue expertise in analyzing votable items.
“This year’s inclusion of a separate survey on climate as part of the policy development process reflects the fast-developing and sharp focus on climate-related issues that many investors globally are considering as a key component of their investor stewardship, including through voting,” said Georgina Marshall, ISS’ Global Head of Research. “Particularly with the growth of various investor initiatives around climate change and in the use of so-called ‘say-on-climate’ votes, we are interested to get specific feedback which will assist the development of the various ISS policy choices available to our clients. We are keen to hear the views of all market constituents on issues related to climate as well as a number of other important governance and other ESG issues concerning executive pay, audit committee oversight, director efficacy, and other topical areas, and we encourage all stakeholders to take the time to ensure their views are heard through participation in these surveys.”
Both surveys are slated to close on August 20, 2021, 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 in 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 solicit objective, specific feedback from investors, companies, and other market constituents on the practical implementation of proposed policy updates before final policy changes are determined and published later in the year.
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’ 2,000 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.