L’évolution de la gouvernance en 2015 et dans le futur | En rappel


Aujourd’hui, je vous réfère à un formidable compte rendu de l’évolution de la gouvernance aux États-Unis en 2015.

C’est certainement le document le plus exhaustif que je connaisse eu égard au futur de la gouvernance corporative. Cet article rédigé par Holly J. Gregory* associée et responsable de la gouvernance corporative et de la rémunération des dirigeants de la firme Sidley Austin LLP, a été publié sur le forum de la Harvard Law School (HLS).

L’article est assez long mais les spécialistes de toutes les questions de gouvernance y trouveront leur compte car c’est un document phare. On y traite des sujets suivants:

1. L’impact des règlementations sur le rôle de la gouvernance;

2. Les tensions entre l’atteinte de résultats à court terme et les investissements à long terme;

3. L’impact de l’activisme sur le comportement des CA et sur la création de valeur;

4. Les réactions de protection et de défense des CA, notamment en modifiant les règlements de l’entreprise;

5. L’influence et le pouvoir des firmes spécialisées en votation;

6. La démarcation entre la supervision (oversight) de la direction et le management;

7. Les activités de règlementation, d’implantation et de suivi;

8. Le rétablissement de la confiance du public envers les entreprises.

Je vous invite donc à lire cet article dont voici un extrait de la première partie.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

The State of Corporate Governance for 2015

The balance of power between shareholders and boards of directors is central to the U.S. public corporation’s success as an engine of economic growth, job creation and innovation. Yet that balance is under significant and increasing strain. In 2015, we expect to see continued growth in shareholder activism and engagement, as well as in 249the influence of shareholder initiatives, including advisory proposals and votes. Time will tell whether, over the long term, tipping the balance to greater shareholder influence will prove beneficial for corporations, their shareholders and our economy at large. In the near term, there is reason to question whether increased shareholder influence on matters that the law has traditionally apportioned to the board is at the expense of other values that are key to the sustainability of healthy corporations.

…..

Governance Roles and Responsibilities

Over the past 15 years, two distinct theories have been advanced to explain corporate governance failures: too little active and objective board involvement and too little accountability to shareholders. The former finds expression in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s emphasis on improving board attention to financial reporting and compliance, and related Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and listing rules on independent audit committees and director and committee independence and function generally. The latter is expressed by the Dodd-Frank Act’s focus on providing greater influence to shareholders through advisory say on pay votes and access to the company’s proxy machinery for nomination by shareholders of director candidates.

The emerging question is whether federal law and regulation (and related influences) are altering the balance that state law provides between the role of shareholders and the role of the board, and if so, whether that alteration is beneficial or harmful. State law places the management and direction of the corporation firmly in the hands of the board of directors. This legal empowerment of the board—and implicit rejection of governance by shareholder referendum—goes hand in hand with the limited liability that shareholders enjoy. Under state law, directors may not delegate or defer to shareholders as to matters reserved by law for the board, even where a majority of shareholders express a clear preference for a specific outcome. Concern about appropriate balance in shareholder and board roles is implicated by the increasingly coercive nature—given the influence and policies of proxy advisory firms—of federally-mandated advisory say on pay proposals and advisory shareholder proposals submitted under Securities Exchange Act Rule 14a-8 on other matters that do not fall within shareholder decision rights. The extent of proxy advisory firm influence is linked, at least in part, to the manner in which the SEC regulates registered investment advisors.

Short-Term Returns vs. Long-Term Investment

Management has long reported significant pressures to focus on short-term results at the expense of the long-term investment needed to position the corporation for the long term. Observers point to short-term financial market pressures which have increased with the rise of institutional investors whose investment managers have incentives to focus on quarterly performance in relation to benchmark and competing funds.

Short-term pressures may also be accentuated by the increasing reliance on stock-based executive compensation. It is estimated that the percentage of stock-based compensation has tripled since the early nineties: in 1993, approximately 20 percent of executive compensation was stock-based. Today, it is about 60 percent.

Boards that should be positioned to help management take the long-term view and balance competing interests are also under pressure from financial and governance focused shareholder activism. Both forms of activism are supported by proxy advisors that favor some degree of change in board composition and tend to have fairly defined—some would say rigid—views of governance practices.

Shareholder Activism and Its Value

As fiduciaries acting in the best interests of the company and its shareholders, directors must make independent and objective judgments. While it is prudent for boards to understand and consider the range of shareholder concerns and views represented in the shareholder constituency, shareholder engagement has its limits: The board must make its own independent judgment and may not simply defer to the wishes of shareholders. While activist shareholders often bring a valuable perspective, they may press for changes to suit particular special interests or short-term goals that may not be in the company’s long-term interests.

Governance Activism

Shareholder pressure for greater rights and influence through advisory shareholder proposals are expected to continue in the 2015 proxy season. A study of trends from the 2014 proxy season in Fortune 250 companies by James R. Copland and Margaret M. O’Keefe, Proxy Monitor 2014: A Report on Corporate Governance and Shareholder Activism (available at www.proxymonitor.org), suggests that the focus of most shareholder proposal activity does not relate to concerns that are broadly held by the majority of shareholders:

  1. Shareholder support for shareholder proposals is down, with only four percent garnering majority support, down from seven percent in 2013.
  2. A small group of shareholders dominates the shareholder-proposal process. One-third of all shareholder proposals are sponsored by three persons and members of their families and another 28 percent of proposals are sponsored by investors with an avowed social, religious or public-policy focus.
  3. Forty-eight percent of 2014 proposals at Fortune 250 companies related to social or political concerns. However, only one out of these 136 proposals received majority support, and that solitary passing proposal was one that the board had supported.
  4. Institutional Shareholders Services Inc. (“ISS”) is far more likely to recommend in favor of shareholder proposals than the average investor is to support them.

Nonetheless, the universe of shareholder proposals included in corporate proxy statements pursuant to Rule 14a-8 has grown significantly over the years. In addition, the coercive power of advisory shareholder proposals has expanded as a result of the policy of proxy advisors to recommend that their clients vote against the re-election of directors who fail to implement advisory shareholder proposals that receive a majority of votes cast. Directors should carefully assess the reasons underlying shareholder efforts to use advisory proposals to influence the company’s strategic direction or otherwise change the board’s approach to matters such as CEO compensation and succession, risk management, governance structures and environmental and social issues. Shareholder viewpoints provide an important data set, but must be understood in the context of the corporation’s best interest rather than the single lens of one particular constituency.

….

__________________________________

*Holly J. Gregory is a partner and co-global coordinator of the Corporate Governance and Executive Compensation group at Sidley Austin LLP.

Aperçu de certains changements dans la gestion des OBNL | Deloitte


Dans ce document de Deloitte, intitulé « un état de changement », j’attire votre attention sur deux sections qui sont importantes pour les gestionnaires d’OBNL :

(1) La communication de l’information sur les avantages sociaux futurs par les organismes sans but lucratif;

(2) L’améliorations des normes pour les organismes sans but lucratif – un rapport présentant les commentaires sur les 15 principes clés relatifs à la comptabilité des OBNL privées et publiques.

Le Conseil des normes comptables du Canada (CNC) et le Conseil sur la comptabilité dans le secteur public (CCSP) sont responsables des suite à donner à la consultation menée depuis plus d’un an.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

Un état de changement dans les OBNL | Deloitte

 

Croisière Eurodam Iphone août 2011 006Pour l’instant, l’orientation qui sera adoptée par les organismes de normalisation est incertaine compte tenu des commentaires reçus et des principes proposés à l’origine dans l’énoncé de principes. Restez à l’affût des renseignements qui suivront, car les Conseils collaborent en vue d’améliorer l’orientation future des normes comptables pour les organismes sans but lucratif! Si vous souhaitez prendre connaissance de certains ou de tous les commentaires reçus à l’égard de l’énoncé de principes, visitez le site Web des Normes d’information financière et de certification (www.nifccanada.ca).

 

Nouvelles recommandations d’ISS relatives à l’inclusion de propositions d’actionnaires dans les circulaires de procuration


Voici une mise à jour importante de la firme ISS concernant les recommandations liées aux propositions des actionnaires susceptibles d’être incluses dans les circulaires de procuration des entreprises.

Carol Bowie responsable de la recherche à  Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) présente les arguments qui sous-tendent ce changement de politique. Ainsi, ISS se prononcera en faveur de l’inclusion des propositions des actionnaires dans les circulaires de procuration en autant qu’un certain nombre de limites soient respectées :

1. Exigences en ce qui a trait à la limite de propriété – maximum de 3 % du pouvoir de votation;

2. Exigences en ce qui a trait à la durée continue de la propriété – pas plus de 3 ans;

3. Exigences relatives au nombre d’actionnaires requis pour former un groupe éligible à la proposition de recommandations – pas de limite au nombre d’actionnaires requis;

4. Exigences relatives au nombre de nominations – maximum de 25 % des membres du CA.

Je vous invite à lire le texte ci-dessous pour avoir plus de détails sur l’ensemble des recommandation de ISS paru sur le Harvard Law Scool Forum on Corporate Governance.

Bonne lecture !

2015 Benchmark US Proxy Voting Policies FAQ 

 

1. How will ISS recommend on proxy access proposals?

Drawing on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decades-long effort to draft a market-wide rule allowing investors to place director nominees on corporate ballots, and reflecting feedback from a broad range of institutional investors and their portfolio companies, ISS is updating its policy on proxy access to generally align with the SEC’s formulation.017

Old Recommendation: ISS supports proxy access as an important shareholder right, one that is complementary to other best-practice corporate governance features. However, in the absence of a uniform standard, proposals to enact proxy access may vary widely; as such, ISS is not setting forth specific parameters at this time and will take a case-by-case approach when evaluating these proposals.

Vote case-by-case on proposals to enact proxy access, taking into account, among other factors:

Company-specific factors; and

Proposal-specific factors, including:

The ownership thresholds proposed in the resolution (i.e., percentage and duration);

The maximum proportion of directors that shareholders may nominate each year; and

The method of determining which nominations should appear on the ballot if multiple shareholders submit nominations.

New Recommendation: ISS will generally recommend in favor of management and shareholder proposals for proxy access with the following provisions:

Ownership threshold: maximum requirement not more than three percent (3%) of the voting power;

Ownership duration: maximum requirement not longer than three (3) years of continuous ownership for each member of the nominating group;

Aggregation: minimal or no limits on the number of shareholders permitted to form a nominating group;

Cap: cap on nominees of generally twenty-five percent (25%) of the board.

Review for reasonableness any other restrictions on the right of proxy access.

Generally recommend a vote against proposals that are more restrictive than these guidelines.

Rationale for update:

Vested with clear legal authority by the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC adopted a proxy access rule (Rule 14a-11) in August 2010 that provided a thoughtful balance of a number of factors including the ownership threshold and the holding period duration. The DC Circuit Court vacated the rule in July 2011 based on its findings of procedural deficiencies in the SEC’s rulemaking process. ISS’ earlier policy, updated for the 2012 proxy season, largely focused on attempts by shareholder proposal proponents to lower the safeguards against abuse (for example, an extremely low ownership threshold) of the access right that the SEC’s formulation addressed. As such, the policy sought to maintain the balance that the SEC struck between protecting shareholders’ rights and the potential abuse of the access process. Three years of voting results on both management- and shareholder-sponsored proxy access proposals drawing on the Commission’s model appear to validate the SEC’s formulation. Moreover, a 2014 CFA Institute study provides a cost-benefit analysis, which the court said was lacking in the SEC’s rulemaking process, and concludes that “proxy access would serve as a useful tool for shareowners in the United States and would ultimately benefit both the markets and corporate boardrooms, with little cost or disruption to companies and the markets as a whole.”

For companies that present both a board and shareholder proxy access proposals on the ballot, ISS will review each of them under the policy.

Exclusion of Shareholder Proposals

2. What are ISS’ expectations regarding whether a company includes a shareholder proposal on its ballot?

The ability of qualifying shareholders to include their properly presented proposals in a company’s proxy materials is a fundamental right of share ownership, which is deeply rooted in state law and the federal securities statutes. Shareholder proposals promote engagement and debate in an efficient and cost-effective fashion.

Over the course of the past several decades, the SEC has played the role of referee in resolving disputes raised by corporate challenges to the inclusion of shareholder proposals in company proxy materials. While federal courts provide an additional level of review, the vast majority of shareholder proposal challenges have been resolved without the need to resort to costly and cumbersome litigation. While individual proponents and issuers often disagree with the SEC’s determinations in these adversarial proceedings, the governance community recognizes the Commission’s important role as an impartial arbiter of these disputes.

On Jan 16, 2015, the SEC announced that it was reviewing Rule 14a-8(i)(9), which allows companies to exclude a shareholder proposal that “directly conflicts” with a board-sponsored proposal. Additionally, SEC Chair Mary Jo White indicated that for proxy season 2015, the Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance will express no view on the application of Rule 14a-8(i)(9). As a result, companies that intended to seek no-action relief on that basis are now deciding their courses of action.

For companies that present both a board and shareholder proposal on the ballot on a similar topic, ISS will review each of them under the applicable policy.

ISS will view attempts to circumvent the normal avenues of dispute resolution and appeal with a high degree of skepticism. Omitting shareholder proposals without obtaining regulatory or judicial relief risks litigation against the company. Presenting only a management proposal on the ballot also limits governance discourse by preventing shareholders from considering an opposing viewpoint, and only allowing them to consider and opine on the view of management.

Thus, under our governance failures policy, ISS will generally recommend a vote against one or more directors (individual directors, certain committee members, or the entire board based on case-specific facts and circumstances), if a company omits from its ballot a properly submitted shareholder proposal when it has not obtained:

1) voluntary withdrawal of the proposal by the proponent;

2) no-action relief from the SEC; or

3) a U.S. District Court ruling that it can exclude the proposal from its ballot.

The recommendation against directors in this circumstance is regardless of whether there is a board-sponsored proposal on the same topic on the ballot. If the company has taken unilateral steps to implement the proposal, however, the degree to which the proposal is implemented, and any material restrictions added to it, will factor into the assessment.

3. Does the Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments policy create a new approach for ISS?

No. ISS has a long history of recommending its clients oppose directors who adopt, without obtaining shareholder approval, bylaw or charter amendments that materially diminish shareholder rights. Such unilateral board actions were covered under ISS’ Governance Failures policy, but due to a recent increase in their occurrence, as of 2015 ISS separated these actions into a standalone policy to increase transparency to clients and issuers, and to facilitate the application of custom clients’ policies.

The Governance Failures policy is designed to recognize one-off egregious actions that are not covered under other policies. If a type of corporate action that disadvantages shareholders becomes commonplace, ISS will often address such problematic practice via a standalone policy. In 2014, the three most common categories of conduct addressed under this policy were:

4. Which types of unilateral bylaw/charter amendments are likely to be considered by ISS to materially diminish shareholders’ rights?

If a unilaterally adopted amendment is deemed materially adverse to shareholder rights, ISS will recommend a vote against the board.

Unilaterally adopted bylaw amendments that are considered on a case-by-case basis, but generally are not considered materially adverse:

….

In assessing bylaw and charter changes at pre-IPO companies, ISS will consider the timing of the adoption of the provisions that diminish post-IPO shareholders rights, the clarity of disclosures of such changes (including in the company’s prospectus or other documents connected to the public offering) and the continuity of board membership.

5. How likely is ISS to support management proposals for fee-shifting bylaws?

As of early February 2015, approximately 50 bylaws allowing fee shifting have been adopted unilaterally, with none put to a shareholder vote. Our Litigation Rights policy states:

Generally vote against bylaws that mandate fee-shifting whenever plaintiffs are not completely successful on the merits (i.e., in cases where the plaintiffs are partially successful).

Mesurer et reconnaître la performance de la direction | Une étude empirique


Voici une étude empirique qui cherche à mieux comprendre comment le choix des mesures de performance influence la rémunération de la direction.

Globalement, les résultats montrent une corrélation positive entre la rémunération du CEO et plusieurs autres mesures de création de valeur. L’étude indique qu’il y a d’autres facteurs qui viennent nuancer cette conclusion.

Je vous invite à lire cet article pour mieux saisir les relations entre les mesures de performance et la structure de rémunération de la direction. Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, un court extrait de cette étude.

Bonne lecture !

MEASURING AND REWARDING PERFORMANCE: THEORY AND EVIDENCE IN RELATION TO EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

 

Debate surrounding executive compensation is an enduring feature of the UK corporate landscape. While concern over compensation levels continue to exercise politicians, regulators, investors and the media, there is growing concern over the degree to which performance metrics commonly used in executive compensation contracts represent appropriate measures of long-term value creation. This debate partly reflects fears that UK executives face excessive pressure to deliver short-term results at the expense of long-term improvements in value (e.g., Kay Review 2012).

IMG_20140516_133651

This report contributes to the debate over executive compensation generally and in particular to the question of performance measure choice in executive compensation contracts. The first part of the report summarises key insights from the academic and professional literatures regarding the structure of executive compensation arrangements and the metrics used to link pay with corporate performance.

The second part of the report presents findings from a pilot study of executive compensation arrangements and their association with corporate value creation using a subsample of FTSE-100 companies.

Our results provide some comfort but also create cause for concern. On the positive side, results demonstrate a material positive association between CEO pay and several measures of value creation for all capital providers. The evidence suggests that prevailing executive pay structures incentivise and reward important aspects of value creation even though contractual performance metrics are not directly linked with value creation in many cases. More troubling, however, is our evidence that (i) a large fraction of CEO pay appears unrelated to periodic value creation and (ii) key aspects of compensation consistently correlate with performance metrics such as TSR and EPS growth where the direct link with value creation is more fragile.

 

Ratio de la rémunération du PCD en relation avec le salaire moyen des employés


Le sujet de la divulgation du ratio PCD – employés fait de plus en plus les manchettes de la gouvernance aux É.U.

En général, la direction des entreprises est contre cette divulgation obligatoire mais l’organisme règlementaire américain SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) veut aller de l’avant et mettre en œuvre l’une des provisions du Dodd Frank Act qui requiert que les entreprises divulguent le ratio de la rémunération du PCD en relation avec le salaire moyen des employés.

Steve Crawford professeur de comptabilité et taxation de l’Université de Houston et Karen Nelson et Brian Rountree, tous deux du département de comptabilité de l’Université Rice, ont conçu une étude qui cherche à répondre à la question suivante : La divulgation des ratios aura-t-elle un impact sur le comportement des investisseurs ?

À partir d’une méthodologie astucieuse, les auteurs montrent qu’il y a plus de dissidences de votes pour les ratios les plus hauts, mais aussi pour les plus bas ! Les résultats de cette recherche sont publiés dans Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.

Je vous invite à lire les arguments des auteurs dont les conclusions se résument à ceci :

… it appears that the pay ratio provides significant information concerning shareholder voting behavior, but only limited information about actual economic outcomes.

The CEO-Employee Pay Ratio

 

Will knowing how much the CEO makes relative to rank and file employees provide information to investors? We may soon find out as a result of a provision in the Dodd Frank Act that requires companies to report the ratio of the CEO’s compensation to that of the median employee.

A Collinesnumber of different sources have developed industry-based estimates of the ratio using information about CEO pay from corporate disclosures and employee pay from the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. For instance, an article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek on May 2, 2013 found the ratio of CEO pay to the typical worker rose from about 20-to-1 in the 1950s to 120-to-1 in 2000, with the ratio reaching nearly 500-to-1 for the top 100 companies.

In our The CEO-Pay Ratio, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, we take advantage of unique reporting rules for the banking sector, which requires disclosures concerning compensation to all employees, as well as the CEO. With this data, we calculate the ratio of CEO compensation to that of the average employee. Over the years 1995-2012, the ratio is relatively stable with an average of 16.58-to-1. In fact, it is only in the highest decile of CEO pay where we find ratios rising to the levels popularized in the financial press and policy debate. Thus, for the vast majority of corporations in the banking sector we find ratios that are well within the bounds espoused by management experts such as Peter Drucker.

A more important question is whether disclosure of the ratios will influence investor behavior. To provide some evidence on this issue, we investigate whether the ratios we calculate for the banking sector systematically relate to the way investors vote on Say on Pay (SOP) proposals. The Dodd-Frank Act also mandates that all corporations administer a non-binding shareholder vote on the compensation of executives reported in the firms’ annual proxy statements. This portion of the law is currently in effect, providing us with three years of data on the preferences of shareholders as revealed through their voting behavior. We find that voting dissent is greatest at both the lowest and highest levels of the ratio, consistent with information on pay disparity influencing voting behavior. Increased voting dissent at the highest levels of the ratio aligns with arguments that disclosure of the ratio may serve as a catalyst to reign in what investors believe to be excessive CEO compensation. However, it is interesting to note that dissent is also high for banks with the lowest levels of the pay ratio, which could be consistent with the view that some level of pay disparity is necessary to provide appropriate incentives for effort within organizations.

We further examine whether the ratios are predictive of future firm performance and risk to see if investors voting behavior is consistent with underlying firm outcomes. Our findings reveal a similar non-linear relationship where the highest and lowest pay ratios result in the lowest (highest) performance (risk). The economic magnitudes of these effects, however, are relatively small. Thus in the end, it appears that the pay ratio provides significant information concerning shareholder voting behavior, but only limited information about actual economic outcomes.

Overall, the results in our study help to inform the ongoing policy debate on the magnitude and consequences of pay disparity in public corporations. If the Securities and Exchange Commission issues its final pay ratio disclosure rule in 2015, investors may soon have this information to inform their voting decisions for a broad range of firms.

The full paper is available for download here.

La gouvernance : un outil essentiel au service des administrateurs | Droit-Inc.com


Voici une formation courte, proposée par Droit-Inc.com et reconnue par le Barreau du Québec aux fins de la formation continue obligatoire, pour une durée de 1 heure 75 min.

Objectif :


Cette formation de 6 cours interactifs et complémentaires vise à donner aux administrateurs de chambres de commerce et d’organismes sans but lucratif (OSBL) les bases nécessaires à la compréhension de leur rôle, de leurs devoirs et de leurs responsabilités à titre d’administrateur.
Elle est offerte en français et en anglais.

P1030920
Description :

Elle traite des grands enjeux liés à la gouvernance d’une chambre de commerce ou d’un OSBL et fournit des moyens concrets pour en optimiser la gouvernance. Elle vise également à développer des savoirs et des compétences transférables.

 

 

Cours 1 : Introduction à la gouvernance

Cours 2 : Les rôles et les responsabilités des administrateurs

Cours 3 : L’éthique et la déontologie

Cours 4 : L’environnement juridique et les responsabilités légales

Cours 5 : L’environnement comptable et la gestion des risques

Cours 6 : La réunion du conseil

 

Source: www.droit-inc.com

L’amélioration de la participation de l’actionnariat au processus de votation par procuration


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, les commentaires de Luis A. Aguilar, commissaire à la U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, sur les moyens à prendre pour inciter les actionnaires des sociétés cotées à se prévaloir de leurs droits de vote par procuration.

Le commissaire présente clairement les difficultés liées au processus de votation existant, en adoptant le point de vue de l’actionnariat individuel (retail) et en mettant en exergue les incongruités de la règlementation.

Les panels constitués pour discuter de ces questions ont essentiellement deux sujets à explorer :

L’importance d’adopter un bulletin de vote « universel » qui permettrait aux actionnaires de voter séparément dans les cas d’administrateurs contestés

L’importance d’améliorer la participation de l’actionnariat au processus de votation par procuration. Aux États-Unis, les « petits actionnaires » possèdent 30 % des actions des 1 000 plus grandes entreprises mais leur taux de participation au processus de votation n’est que de 13 %. Les investisseurs institutionnels, en comparaison, utilisent leurs droits de vote dans 90 % des cas.

Je vous invite donc à lire les arguments exposés par le commissaire et à livrer votre point de vue sur ces deux questions. Cette problématique s’adresse tout autant à la situation canadienne.

Que faire pour assurer une meilleure participation de l’actionnariat diffus au processus de votation, surtout en cas d’élection contestée ?

Bonne lecture ?

Ensuring the Proxy Process Works for Shareholders

Today’s [February 19, 2015] Roundtable on Proxy Voting is certainly timely since over the course of the next several months, thousands of America’s public companies will hold annual shareholders meetings to elect directors and to vote on many important corporate governance issues. The start of the annual “proxy season” is an appropriate time to consider the annual process by which companies communicate with their shareholders and get their input on a variety of issues. Whether it’s voting on directors, executive compensation matters, or other significant matters, the annual meeting is the principal opportunity for shareholders—the true owners of public companies—to have their voices heard by the corporate managers of their investments. At these annual meetings, shareholders can express their support, or disappointment, with the direction of their companies through the exercise of their right to vote.

P1020102

As today’s panelists know well, the days of shareholders coming together, sitting in a room and talking one-on-one with the directors and officers running their companies are long gone. The ownership of today’s public companies is both too widely dispersed geographically and would involve too many shareholders to reasonably attend shareholders meetings (such meetings would require football stadiums rather than typical conference rooms). Accordingly, rather than attending the annual shareholders meetings in person to cast their votes, shareholders of public companies typically submit their votes by proxy. To that end, the Commission recognizes that the proxy statement process is a vital means by which shareholders and companies’ leadership communicate with one another. Consistent with this reality, the Commission’s proxy rules operate on the principle that the proxy process should function, as close as possible, to replicate the rights of a shareholder who attends the annual meeting in person.

These rules are not static, however. The advent of the internet and other recent technological advances that have resulted in the rapid evolution in communications have raised tremendous possibilities, and a host of issues, related to how shareholders can engage in the proxy process. This is why it is so important for the Commission, the investor’s advocate, to continue to actively monitor and improve the proxy process so that it best protects the interests of shareholders.

To that end, today’s Roundtable will focus on two fundamental issues: first, a discussion of how best to empower shareholders so that they can effectively vote for the director they want; and second, a discussion of whether the existing proxy voting process is fostering or hindering the ability of shareholders to exercise their voting rights.

Importance of the Universal Proxy Ballot

To discuss the issues of empowering shareholders to vote for the directors of their choice, today’s first panel will focus on the state of contested director elections and discuss the use of universal proxy ballots. The fundamental issue to be addressed by this panel is straightforward: shareholders who could attend the annual meetings in person, particularly in contested elections, would have the ability to “split their tickets” and vote among all of the eligible candidates—whether recommended by management or by other shareholders. The same cannot be said for shareholders who participate in contested director elections by proxy. Rather, under today’s proxy regime, shareholders who vote by proxy effectively are unable to pick-and-choose among all eligible director candidates. This is because current proxy rules effectively do not provide shareholders with a single proxy ballot that would allow them to vote on candidates nominated by both shareholder proponents and management. This is one anomaly in the Commission’s proxy process rules that, when taken into account with prevailing state proxy laws, do not replicate an actual in-person meeting of shareholders. As a result, these proxy rules effectively result in diminishing shareholders’ rights by limiting voting choice during contested elections—an unwelcomed result at an important time for shareholders to have their voices heard.

To address these concerns, shareholders, commenters, and others have at various times promoted the idea of a universal proxy ballot—or a proxy card that permits shareholders to choose among all eligible director candidates. More recently, in 2013, the Commission’s Investor Advisory Committee (“IAC”) considered this issue and recommended that the Commission explore amending the proxy rules to provide any person soliciting proxies with the option of distributing a “universal ballot” in a “short slate” direction nomination—or a proxy contest in which the outside candidates would not control the board if elected. Even more recently, other commenters have suggested that the Commission facilitate the use of universal ballot proxy cards for all director elections, regardless of any resulting change in control.

The goal of these recommendations is to remove artificial barriers to shareholder nominations and thereby improve shareholder choice. The expectation is that a universal ballot proxy card would make management and boards of directors more responsive to the interests of shareholders.

I look forward to a robust discussion of the universal proxy ballot concept and a discussion of what can be done to improve the ways that shareholders can elect the directors that they want to run their companies.

Improving Informed Retail Participation in the Proxy Process

Today’s second panel will discuss possible approaches to addressing the drop in retail shareholder participation in the proxy process. This discussion is particularly important, given how Americans are increasingly relying on the capital markets for their savings and retirement. In fact, the data shows that about half of all U.S. households participate, either directly or indirectly, in the stock market.

While retail shareholders are no longer the predominant owners of America’s public companies like they were in the years before 1945, they remain significant direct owners of public companies. For example, one report found that as of the end of 2009, retail shareholders owned nearly 30% of the shares of America’s largest 1,000 public companies. This is a significant percentage of direct ownership interests and makes it clear why the Commission must promote policies that encourage retail investors to protect their interests by exercising their voting rights.

It’s no secret that retail shareholder participation in the proxy process has been falling. In fact, one of the first issues that I raised after becoming a Commissioner concerned the negative impact on retail investor voting following the Commission’s 2005 adoption of an “access equals delivery” rule. I noted in February 2009 that retail investor voting, already at low numbers, had plummeted at those companies using the notice and access model permitted by this rule. Indeed, the reports that compiled statistics on the level of participation by investors before and after the notice and access model was put in place at their companies found decreases of over 30% for large investors, and over 60% for smaller investors. Other reports find that retail response rates have declined each year since the introduction of the notice and access model, falling to less than a 13% response rate for the period from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

Although the Commission has not revisited the “access equals delivery” rule to determine its continuing impact, which is something I think should be done, the SEC has taken some steps to create greater interest in the voting process. For example, in 2010, the Commission identified a need for education outreach to better inform retail investors as to the importance of exercising their voting rights—and how to exercise those rights. In connection with that effort, the Commission took a series of steps designed to educate investors—including issuing an “investor alert” on new shareholder rules in advance of the 2010 proxy season, and launching a new “Spotlight on Proxy Matters” Web page at sec.gov that provides investors with information on the mechanics of proxy voting, the e-proxy rules, corporate elections, and proxy matters generally.

Notwithstanding the Commission’s efforts—which admittedly were limited—retail shareholder participation in the proxy process remains disappointingly low. For example, one report looking at a sample of annual meetings in 2013 found that 70% of shares held by retail shareholders were not voted. Another more recent report found that by July 2014, institutional shareholders had voted 90% of their shares, but retail shareholders had voted just 29% of their shares.

These dismal retail investor participation numbers have continued, despite technological advances that should have made it easier and more efficient for widely dispersed groups of shareholders to engage with other investors and their companies. For example, so-called “virtual shareholder meetings,” which allow shareholders to use the internet—not just to listen and watch, but also to vote their shares—have grown in prevalence over the past five years. Yet, retail shareholder participation remains low.

Perhaps it’s not just the use of new technology but, rather, how that technology is used that will result in greater shareholder participation.

For instance, it has been suggested that the better use of 21st century technology in the proxy process may facilitate how shareholders can more effectively receive and understand how their companies are performing, and to better put that performance into perspective. Indeed, it’s only logical to expect that better informed investors would likely participate in greater numbers.

In its 2010 Concept Release on the U.S. Proxy System, the Commission stated that if issuers provided reportable items in interactive data format, “shareholders may be able to more easily obtain specific information about issuers, compare information across different issuers, and observe how issuer-specific information changes over time as the same issuer continues to file in an interactive data format.” In addition, in 2013, the IAC recommended that the Commission immediately prioritize tagging important information with respect to various corporate governance issues, including portions of the proxy statement that relate to executive compensation and matters voted upon by shareholders. The IAC added that tagging the voting data and results contained in certain forms could result in more informed voting and investment decisions, and would facilitate comparisons among public companies. For these reasons, the IAC suggested that data tagging could “facilitate participation in the governance process.”

The end goal, of course, is not simply to increase retail shareholder participation in the proxy process, but rather to increase informed participation in this process. This is one of the fundamental concerns that have been previously raised about so-called “advance voting instructions” (sometimes referred to as “client-directed voting”). In particular, most iterations of advance voting instructions inevitably would set voting instructions for shareholders before any disclosures about the matters in question are known or even available. Any serious discussion of the merits of advanced voting instructions needs to consider how these processes will comport with the basic disclosure principles of investor protection and shareholder rights that underpin the current proxy rules.

As today’s panelists discuss various ways to promote retail shareholder participation in the proxy process, the discussion should focus, not only on how to get a shareholder to technically cast their vote, but also on how best to protect the fundamental interests of shareholders in making informed voting decisions.

Conclusion

I expect that today’s Roundtable will go a long way in assisting the Commission in exploring how best to get shareholders to participate in shareholders meetings and, in particular, how best to give them a more effective way to vote for the directors of their choice.

I would like to thank all of our panelists for taking the time to be here today, and I want to thank the staff for organizing this Roundtable. I look forward to an active discussion about the universal proxy ballots and the ways to increase the participation of informed shareholders in the proxy process.

In conclusion, I want to remind everyone that there will be a public comment file associated with today’s Roundtable. I look forward to receiving additional comments and input on these issues.

Le délicat problème de la rétribution des dirigeants d’OBNL !


L’expérience de la gestion des OBNL nous apprend que les entrepreneurs-propriétaires-fondateurs de ces organisations vivent souvent des aventures d’affaires formidables parce qu’ils sont animés par un feu sacré et une passion hors du commun. C’est souvent ce qui fait que certaines entreprises de l’économie sociale sortent de l’ombre !

Ainsi, suite à la mise sur pied de l’organisme à but non lucratif, les premiers dirigeants doivent s’impliquer activement dans la gestion quotidienne de l’entreprise; ils investissent beaucoup de temps – bénévolement – tout en occupant aussi un autre emploi.

Après plusieurs années de dévouement, de développement d’affaires tangible, de notoriété accrue et de succès répétés, souvent après des décennies d’efforts…, les gestionnaires bénévoles deviennent surchargés. L’entreprise doit se professionnaliser…

Toutes les organisations vivent ces grandes mutations, souvent déchirantes mais indispensables pour assurer la pérennité de l’entreprise.

Les leaders bénévoles doivent alors s’entourer de ressources additionnelles : administration générale, opérations, ventes, finances et comptabilité, recherche de commandites et de subventions, communications publiques, etc.

Ces nouvelles ressources, bien qu’ayant l’entreprise à cœur, ne sont pas animés de la même passion; en conséquence, l’organisation doit les rémunérer. Cela crée souvent deux classes : les responsables bénévoles (lesquels se retrouvent généralement au CA) et le personnel rémunéré.

Selon moi, le CA doit prévoir des mécanismes de transition clairs afin que les fondateurs-gestionnaires soient traités avec équité et reconnaissance.

When it comes to attracting and retaining talented leaders, the setting of executive compensation packages has posed continuing challenges to nonprofits since the 1980s. These challenges relate to the professionalization of the sector, the increasing desire to measure and reward success, and the need to retain and promote the most talented managers.

Voici un cas qui illustre pourquoi un CA doit se montrer très clairvoyant dans l’expression de sa gratitude envers les fondateurs bénévoles. Il ne doit pas attendre que les premiers dirigeants s’essoufflent, puis se retirent, pour leur exprimer sa satisfaction sous la forme d’une rétribution financière. On notera qu’il s’agit ici d’une OBNL d’envergure et que le PDG recevait déjà une rémunération significative.

Ce cas, rédigé par Ruth McCambridge et publié dans Nonprofit Quaterly, montre que le conseil d’administration d’une l’OBNL doit éviter de s’embourber dans des questions de rémunération du PDG, surtout lorsque l’organisme est tributaire de fonds publics pour son financement.

Nonprofit Boards Can and Should Avoid this Problem with CEO Compensation

This story is not new. A CEO spends decades providing measurably great leadership for a nonprofit, but no one ever considers ensuring that she is able to retire at the end of all that. So the board plays a little catch-up and makes a lump sum payment, causing a media storm in which scrutiny is focused unkindly on the organization.

So it was with the now-retired CEO of Health Care and Rehabilitation Services. Judith Hayward had been at the organization for 19 years and had built its budget from $8 million to $50 million annually. She was given a $650,000 compensation package when she retired around a year ago. Approximately 85 percent of the organization’s budget comes from taxpayer money.

Even though these kinds of payments may not be illegal and may even be ethical, when they come to light, they almost invariably cause problems for nonprofits—especially those that receive public contracts.

In this case, the board crossed its t’s and dotted its i’s. The executive and finance committees made recommendations and the board approved the payment in 2010. But when the payment was highlighted during a recent audit, the current CEO, George Karabakakis, felt compelled to travel to Montpelier to meet with local legislators to explain.

“It felt to myself, to the board, and to the senior leadership team that it was really important to come out and share the information,” Karabakakis said. “I don’t want legislators, or our staff, or anyone to get half truths or hear about this through the grapevine or the rumor mill. It’s important to put it out clearly and say ‘This is what happened.’”

Hayward’s annual salary when she retired was about $163,000. “Everyone on the board thought she did a tremendous job,” said J. Allen Dougherty, who served as chair of the HCRS board when the retirement package was approved. “She brought the organization out of bankruptcy, developed new programs and everyone who had contact with her, including people from the state, thought she did a magnificent job. She never had a retirement package and the board thought this was a way we could make it up to her.”

The package was originally approved at $450,000, but that was increased to $650,000 in 2013 when it was discovered that Hayward would be immediately taxed for $200,000 once she started to receive the payments.

 Unfortunately, this year, for the first time in at least 10 years, HCRS employees did not get a raise, and Karabakakis said staff have been “disappointed, angry and outraged.”

“Some people may see it as excessive,” he said. “If we’re going to provide a deferred compensation package, it’s important that we look at the industry standard, and make sure that we do have a culture of openness and transparency.”

But the staff were unlikely to have been solely concerned about transparency. The other thing a board needs to ensure is that fair retirement benefits extend to all workers. The notion of caring only about the old age comfort of top employees is, naturally, abhorrent and insulting to many others. It’s no surprise, and in times where income inequality begs for our attention, our organizations should try not to mimic the bad policies of the larger economy.

Karabakakis said the whole incident has caused a review of employment policies, the establishment of a personnel committee, and a “commitment to open and transparent communication with all concerned.”

But all of that after-the-fact work is being done after the horse has left the barn. As reported here, Rep. Michael Mrowicki, who serves on the Human Services Committee, says he will bring up the possible oversight of executive compensation in the legislature. “These payments seem to have been structured in a way that they are legal, but they don’t really pass the smell test,” he said. “We are trying to figure out our next step.”

“Mainly we want to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he said. “We wouldn’t want to set a precedent for other people to think they deserve more than they have been paid. The staff at these agencies work incredibly hard, and you don’t have to go very far to find people who are being denied services because they are told there is not enough money. These state agencies are entrusted with public money and the taxpayers deserve to be protected. It is frustrating and disappointing on a very basic level.”

The fact is that many nonprofits do not attend to retirement packages adequately until doing what feels fair on one level may look unreasonable to others. With as many baby boomers as there are in leadership at nonprofits, it is well past time to consider these issues.

Les avantages liés à la constitution d’un comité consultatif pour les PME et les OBNL


Voici une vidéo de la Banque de Développement du Canada (BDC) vantant les mérites d’un comité consultatif dans le cas d’une petite entreprise. Les propriétaires affirment que la mise en place d’un comité consultatif est « l’un des secrets les mieux gardés pour améliorer une entreprise ».

Il ne fait aucun doute que les petites entreprises privées ou les OBNL ont de multiples avantages à former un conseil consultatif, avant de se lancer dans la mise en place d’un conseil d’administration. Le cas de l’entreprise Steelworks Design illustre bien les bénéfices à retirer d’un tel arrangement de gouvernance.

Cependant, il faut se concentrer sur une solide composition de ce conseil, et c’est là que réside tout le défi !

6 avantages d’un comité consultatif

Découvrez pourquoi former un comité consultatif est l’un des secrets les mieux gardés pour améliorer une entreprise. Rhonda Barnet, vice-présidente de Steelworks Design, explique ici comment les conseils externes ainsi que les encouragements de son comité consultatif ont permis à l’entreprise de surmonter les difficultés et de connaître de nouveaux succès.


Si vous voulez consulter un autre article qui résume parfaitement les principaux avantages reliés à l’utilisation d’un comité consultatif (aviseur), je vous invite à lire ce court article d’Olivier Dellacherie paru dans Talent4Boards Inc.

Talent4Boards

The pros and cons of an Advisory Board

 

Strategy, Innovation

Boost and foster CEO’s strategic capacity,

Analyze market conditions,

Are sources of ideas or trends,

Recommend technological innovation,

Suggest product or service changes.

Source of advice

Bring a wide range of experiences and perspectives to the company,

Empower CEO/founder to make smarter and more effective business decisions.

Independence

Provide a set of “fresh eyes” for the organization.

Give independent and honest advice.

Will be on the side of CEOs.

Assistance, business development

Help CEOs grow their company,

Help with business deals,

Bring new business and revenue opportunities,

Can pro-actively assist CEOs for certain tasks, in order they can devote most of his/her time to the business development.

Support entrepreneur so they don’t navigate unfamiliar waters alone.

Cost effective

Provide a talent pool that they could not normally afford.

Be an inexpensive alternative to a formal BOD.

Efficient

No fiduciary responsibility.

Structure problem solving

Create an organized process to discuss business opportunities and concerns.

Value creation

Branding the Company thanks to having recognizable names on board,

Be an important asset in the valuation of the company.

Networking

Broaden networks and encompass business vision

Mentoring

Bring opportunity for mentoring relationships

Mentoring thanks to the combined experience,

Share difficult issues.

Gouvernance des OBNL : Un webinaire gratuit à ne pas manquer!


Voici une occasion à ne pas manquer si la gouvernance des OBNL vous intéresse.

Il s’agit d’un webinaire offert gracieusement par les CPA le 12 mars 2015.

Vous n’avez qu’à vous inscrire en consultant le site ci-dessous.

 

Bon webinaire !

Gouvernance des organismes sans but lucratif : Questions que les administrateurs devraient poser

Logo

Êtes-vous administrateur d’un OSBL? Comprenez-vous bien votre rôle à l’égard de la surveillance de l’organisme sans but lucratif (OSBL) que vous servez? Quelles questions devriez-vous poser pour vous assurer que le cadre de gouvernance et les processus de soutien de votre OSBL sont efficaces et répondent aux besoins particuliers de l’organisme, de sorte que l’OSBL soit productif, respecte ses obligations en matière d’information et réalise sa mission?

Cette activité gratuite d’une durée de 90 minutes aidera les administrateurs d’OSBL à comprendre comment ils peuvent s’assurer qu’un bon cadre de gouvernance est en place au sein de l’organisme qu’ils servent.

VOUS EN SAUREZ PLUS SUR :

les obligations fiduciaires liées à la surveillance pour les conseils et les administrateurs pris individuellement

 

les exigences et le contexte législatifs

 

la conception et la mise en place d’un cadre de gouvernance

 

l’établissement d’une saine dynamique au sein du conseil

 

les ressources pour l’établissement d’une saine dynamique au sein du conseil

 

le suivi, l’apprentissage et l’amélioration sur une base continue

 

les modèles de gouvernance dans le secteur des OSBL

 

des exemples de mandats de comités du conseil

 

Recommandations des firmes ISS et Glass Lewis pour la votation aux assemblées annuelles de 2015


Quelles sont les avis émis par les firmes conseil en votation qui servent à évaluer la qualité de la gouvernance des entreprises cotées ? Quels sont les facteurs pris en compte par les actionnaires, les investisseurs institutionnels et les Hedge Funds pour juger de la gouvernance et de la performance globale des sociétés, et pour voter lors des assemblées annuelles des actionnaires ?

Cet article, publié dans Lexology, en collaboration avec l’association des juristes corporatifs, a été rédigé par Dykema Gossett, Robert Murphy, Mark A. Metz et D. Richard McDonald. Les auteurs présentent les recommandations des firmes ISS et Glass Lewis eu égard à des sujets chauds en gouvernance.

Je vous invite à prendre connaissance des mises à jour fournies par ces deux firmes-conseil et accessibles à tous les actionnaires, notamment les recommandations relatives à l’indépendance des présidents de conseils d’administration.

Bonne lecture !

ISS and Gass Lewis proxy voting policy updates for the 2015 proxy season

The proxy advisory firms ISS and Glass Lewis, recently announced updates to their respective voting policies for domestic companies for the upcoming 2015 proxy season. These two firms have risen to prominence in recent years, wielding significant power in corporate governance matters, proxy fights and takeover votes. Hedge funds, mutual fund complexes, institutional investors and similar organizations that own shares of multiple companies pay ISS and Glass Lewis to advise them regarding shareholder votes.

In cooperation with Association of Corporate Counsel

The ISS and Glass Lewis policy updates are effective for annual meetings on or after February 1, 2015, and January 1, 2015, respectively. For your convenience, we have summarized below the most important updates relating to corporate governance matters.

Independent Board Chairs

The most notable ISS policy change relates to shareholder proposals that seek to separate the chairman and chief executive officer positions. For the 2015 proxy season, ISS is adding new governance, board leadership and performance factors to its current analytical framework. In this regard, ISS’s policy will continue to generally recommend that shareholders vote “for” independent chair shareholder proposals after consideration in a “holistic manner” of the following factors:

Scope of the Proposal: Whether the shareholder proposal is binding or merely a recommendation and whether it seeks an immediate change in the chairman role or can be implemented at the next CEO transition.

Company’s Current Board Leadership Structure: The presence of an executive or non-independent chairman in addition to the CEO, a recent recombination of the role of CEO and chairman, and/or a departure from a structure with an independent chairman.

Company’s Governance Structure: The overall independence of the board, the independence of key committees, the establishment of governance guidelines, as well as board tenure and its relationship to CEO tenure.

Company’s Governance Practices: Problematic governance or management issues such as poor compensation practices, material failures of governance and risk oversight, related party transactions or other issues putting director independence at risk will be reviewed as well as corporate or management scandals and actions by management or the board with potential or realized negative impacts on shareholders.

Company Performance: One-, three- and five-year total shareholder return compared to the company’s peers and the market as a whole.

In view of its new holistic approach in evaluating these types of shareholder proposals, ISS indicates that a “For” or “Against” recommendation will not be determined by any single factor, but that it will consider all positive and negative aspects of the company based on the new expanded list of factors when assessing these proposals.

Glass Lewis generally does not recommend that shareholders vote against CEOs who also serve as chairman of the board of directors, but it encourages clients to support separating the roles of chairman and CEO whenever the issue arises in a proxy statement.

Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments

ISS and Glass Lewis have adopted new policies pursuant to which they will generally issue negative vote recommendations against directors if the board amends the bylaws or charter without shareholder approval in a manner that materially diminishes shareholder rights or otherwise impedes shareholder ability to exercise their rights (“Unilateral Amendments”).

Under the updated policy, if the board adopts a Unilateral Amendment, ISS will generally make a recommendation for an “against” or “withhold” vote on a director individually, the members of a board committee or the entire board (other than new nominees on a case-by-case basis), after considering the following nine factors, as applicable:

– the board’s rationale for adopting the Unilateral Amendment;

– disclosure by the issuer of any significant engagement with shareholders regarding the Unilateral Amendment;

– the level of impairment of shareholders’ rights caused by the Unilateral Amendment;

– the board’s track record with regard to unilateral board action on bylaw and charter amendments and other entrenchment provisions;

– the issuer’s ownership structure;

– the issuer’s existing governance provisions;

– whether the Unilateral Amendment was made prior to or in connection with the issuer’s IPO;

– the timing of the Unilateral Amendment in connection with a significant business development; and

– other factors, as deemed appropriate, that may be relevant to the determination of the impact of the Unilateral Amendment on shareholders.

Glass Lewis has revised its policy to provide that, depending on the circumstances, it will recommend that shareholders vote “against” the chairman of the board’s governance committee, or the entire committee, in instances where a board has amended the company’s governing documents, without shareholder approval, to “reduce or remove important shareholder rights, or to otherwise impede the ability of shareholders to exercise such right” such as:

– the elimination of the ability of shareholders to call a special meeting or to act by written consent;

– an increase to the ownership threshold required by shareholders to call a special meeting;

– an increase to vote requirements for charter or bylaw amendments;

– the adoption of provisions that limit the ability of shareholders to pursue full legal recourse (e.g., bylaws that require arbitration of shareholder claims or “fee-shifting” bylaws);

– the adoption of a classified board structure; and

– the elimination of the ability of shareholders to remove a director without cause.

Equity Plan Proposals

Of particular importance to management are the revised ISS and Glass Lewis policies pertaining to their voting recommendations on company proposals seeking shareholder approval of equity compensation plans. Equity compensation of management remains a central focus of many institutional investors and shareholder activists.

For 2015, ISS adopted a new “scorecard” model, referred to as Equity Plan Scorecard (“EPSC”), that considers a range of positive and negative factors in evaluating equity incentive plan proposals, rather than the current six pass/fail tests focused on cost and certain egregious practices to evaluate such proposals. The total EPSC score will generally determine whether ISS recommends “for” or “against” the proposal.

Under its new policy, ISS will evaluate equity-based compensation plans on a case-by-case basis depending on a combination of certain plan features and equity grant practices, as evaluated by the EPSC factors. The EPSC factors will fall under the following three categories (“EPSC Pillars”):

Plan Cost (45 percent weighting): The total estimated cost of the company’s equity plans relative to industry/market cap peers. ISS will measure plan cost by using ISS’s Value Transfer Model (SVT) for the company in relation to its peers. The SVT calculation assesses the amount of shareholders’ equity flowing out of the company to employees and directors.

Plan Features (20 percent weighting): The presence or absence of provisions in the plan providing for (i) automatic single-triggered award vesting upon a change in control; (ii) discretionary vesting authority; (iii) liberal share recycling on various award types; and (iv) minimum vesting period for grants made under the plan.

Grant Practices (35 percent weighting): The issuer’s recent grant practices under the proposed plan and all other plans including (i) the company’s three-year burn rate relative to its industry/market cap peers; (ii) vesting requirements in most recent CEO equity grants (three-year lookback); (iii) the estimated duration of the plan based on the sum of shares remaining available and the new shares requested, divided by the average annual shares granted in the prior three years; (iv) the proportion of the CEO’s most recent equity grants/awards subject to performance conditions; (v) whether the company maintains a clawback policy; and (vi) whether the company has established post exercise/vesting share-holding requirements.

In its updated voting policy, ISS will generally recommend voting “against” the plan proposal if the combination of the factors listed above in the EPSC Pillars indicates that the plan is not, overall, in the shareholders’ interests, or if any of the following apply:

– awards may vest in connection with a liberal change-of-control definition;

– the plan would permit repricing or cash buyout of underwater options without shareholder approval (either by expressly permitting it – for NYSE and Nasdaq listed companies – or by not prohibiting it when the company has a history of prepricing – for non-listed companies);

– the plan is a vehicle for “problematic pay practices” or a “pay-for-performance disconnect;” or

– any other plan features are determined to have a “significant negative impact on shareholder interests.”

Political Contributions

In recent years, many issuers have received shareholder proposals seeking reports or other disclosure regarding political contributions, including lobbying and political activities. Under the updated policy on political contribution shareholder proposals, ISS will generally recommend that shareholders vote “for” proposals requesting greater disclosure of a company’s political contributions and trade association spending policies and activities, after considering:

– the company’s policies as well as management and board oversight related to its direct political contributions and payments to trade associations or other groups that may be used for political purposes;

– the company’s disclosure regarding its support of, and participation in, trade associations or other groups where it makes political contributions; and

– recent significant controversies, fines or litigation related to the company’s political contributions or political activities.

Practical Considerations

Despite the policy changes discussed above, public companies should continue to tailor their individual governance policies with a view towards what is in the long-term best interests of their own shareholders as opposed to meeting the ISS and Glass Lewis guidelines. ISS notes that its 2015 policy is intended to address the recent substantial increase in bylaw/charter amendments that adversely impact shareholder rights without being subject to a shareholder vote. Companies that intend to adopt any corporate governance policies that adversely impact shareholder rights should consider seeking shareholder support before implementing such policies, if a negative ISS or Glass Lewis recommendation on re-election of directors is likely to have a material effect on the election.

Companies should review last year’s proxy compensation and governance disclosures in order to make improvements in this year’s disclosures where appropriate – particularly if the company has received comments on this disclosure from the SEC staff. The failure to address a previous year’s staff comment may provoke a more detailed review by the staff, with its attendant time delays, should it be noticed during the staff’s initial screening of the filing.

Companies should also review their corporate governance and compensation practices for potential vulnerabilities under ISS’ policy updates, such as equity compensation plans that may be up for a vote at the next annual meeting or an independent chair shareholder proposal, and decide what action, if any, to take in light of this assessment.

Companies should continue a regular dialogue with key investors, bearing in mind limitations imposed by the SEC on proxy solicitations. Shareholder engagement efforts should continue to focus on what shareholders’ greatest concerns are and the rationale for board action.

Les interventions des activistes vues sous l’angle d’une meute de loups


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, une référence à un article publié par Alon Brav, professeur de finance à l’Université Duke, Amil Dasgupta du département de finance de la London School of Economics et Richmond Mathews du département de finance de l’Université du Maryland, et paru dans le Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance.

Dans cet article, qui intéressera certainement les administrateurs préoccupés par les interventions croissantes des actionnaires activistes, les auteurs mettent en évidence les tactiques des Hedge Funds dans la « coopération » de divers groupes d’activistes, menée par un leader de la coalition (« la meute »).

IMG_20141211_183948

L’étude montre comment plusieurs activistes peuvent s’allier « informellement » pour coordonner leur attaque d’une entreprise cible.

Ce phénomène est relativement récent mais on peut imaginer un développement accru de l’utilisation de ces manœuvres dans le contexte règlementaire actuel.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont toujours les bienvenus.

Wolf Pack Activism

In our paper Wolf Pack Activism, which was recently made publicly available on SSRN, we provide a model analyzing a prominent and controversial governance tactic used by activist hedge funds. The tactic involves multiple hedge funds or other activist investors congregating around a target, with one acting as a “lead” activist and others as peripheral activists. This has been colorfully dubbed the “wolf pack” tactic by market observers. The use of wolf packs has intensified in recent years and has attracted a great deal of attention. Indeed, a recent post on this forum described 2014 as “the year of the wolf pack”.

The formation of a wolf pack may enable activist hedge funds to gain the significant influence that they appear to wield in target firms with relatively small holdings: According to recent research, the median stake of activist hedge funds at the initiation of an activist campaign is only 6.3%. Yet, the process by which a wolf pack form appears to be subtle, for at least two reasons. First, wolf pack activity appears to be ostensibly uncoordinated—i.e., no formal coalition is formed—a fact that is usually attributed to an attempt by the funds to circumvent the requirement for group filing under Regulation 13D when governance activities are coalitional (e.g., Briggs 2006). Second, wolf packs appear to form dynamically: Writing in this forum in 2009, Nathan describes the process of wolf pack formation as follows: “The market’s knowledge of the formation of a wolf pack (either through word of mouth or public announcement of a destabilization campaign by the lead wolf pack member) often leads to additional activist funds entering the fray against the target corporation, resulting in a rapid (and often outcome determinative) change in composition of the target’s shareholder base seemingly overnight.”

The subtle nature of wolf pack formation, combined with the prominence of this tactic, raises some questions of key importance to corporate governance: How can formally uncoordinated dynamic wolf pack activity work? What role does the lead activist play? What is the role of the peripheral wolf pack members? How do leaders and followers influence each other?

Our model addresses these questions. We consider multiple activists of different sizes: One large and many small. There is one lead activist who is as large as several small activists taken together and is better informed than the small activists. Our model involves two key components. The first component is a static model of “engagement” by activist investors, which may be interpreted to include talking with target management, making public statements, sponsoring and voting on proxy proposals etc. Successful engagement naturally involves a collective action problem: Engagement can only succeed if there is enough pressure on management, given the underlying fundamentals of the firm. To capture this collective action problem, we build on methodology for analyzing asymmetric coordination problems in Corsetti, Dasgupta, Morris, and Shin (2004). The second component is a dynamic model of block-building which anticipates the subsequent engagement process. A key aspect of our analysis is that the ownership structure of the target firm (the total activist stake and the size-distribution of activists) is endogenous and determines the success of activism, given firm fundamentals.

We first show that the concentration of skill and capital matters: holding constant total activist ownership, the presence of a lead activist improves the coordination of wolf pack members in the engagement game, leading to a higher probability of successful activism. This occurs solely because the lead activist’s presence implicitly helps the smaller activists to coordinate their efforts and become more aggressive at engaging the target, since in our model there is no overt communication among the activists and they all act simultaneously. An implication of this result is that, even when a significant number of shares are held by potential activists, the arrival of a “lead” activist who holds a larger block may be a necessary catalyst for a successful campaign, which is consistent with the activist strategies that are well documented in the empirical literature.

We next show the beneficial effect of the presence of small activists on a lead activist’s decision to buy shares in the target. In particular, the larger is the wolf pack of small activists the lead activist can expect to exist at the time of the campaign, the more likely it is that buying a stake will be profitable given the activist’s opportunity cost of tying up capital. Importantly, the expected wolf pack size consists of both small activists that already own stakes, and those that can be expected to purchase a stake after observing the lead activist’s purchase decision.

We also examine the dynamics of optimal purchase decisions by small activists. We find that the acquisition of a position by the large activist (in effect, a 13D filing) precipitates the immediate entry of a significant additional number of small activists. While these activists know about the potential for activism at the firm before the lead activist buys in, other attractive uses of funds keep them from committing capital to the firm before they are sure that a lead activist will emerge. Others with lower opportunity costs may be willing to buy in earlier, as the real (but smaller) chance of successful engagement in the absence of a lead activist provides sufficient potential returns. Thus, our model predicts that late entrants to activism will be those who have relatively higher opportunity costs of tying up capital. One potential way to interpret this is that more concentrated, smaller, and more “specialized” vehicles (such as other activist funds) may be more inclined to acquire a stake only after the filing of a 13D by a lead activist.

The full paper is available for download here.

Bulletin du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) | Février 2015


Vous trouverez, ci-dessous, le Bulletin du Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) du mois de Février 2015.

Le programme de certification universitaire en gouvernance de sociétés est le seul programme universitaire offert au Québec. Il s’adresse aux administrateurs siégeant à un conseil d’administration et disposant d’une expérience pertinente.

Les administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC) sont regroupés dans la Banque des Administrateurs de sociétés certifiés (ASC), un outil de recherche en ligne mis au point par le Collège, afin de faciliter le recrutement d’administrateurs sur les conseils d’administration.

Collège des administrateurs de sociétés

Bulletin du Collège des administraters de sociétés (CAS) | Février 2015

LE COLLÈGE SOULIGNE SON 10e  ANNIVERSAIRE

 

10 ans d'excellence en gouvernanceLe Collège des administrateurs de sociétés a profité de la tenue de sa Grande conférence annuelle en gouvernance de sociétés, au parquet de la CDP Capital à Montréal le 27 janvier 2015, pour donner le coup d’envoi des activités soulignant son 10e anniversaire devant plus de 200 administrateurs, partenaires et collaborateurs.

GRANDE CONFÉRENCE EN GOUVERNANCE DE SOCIÉTÉS

 

M. Jean-René Halde
M. Jean-René Halde, Président et chef de la direction de la Banque de développement du Canada

M. Jean-René Halde, président et chef de la direction de la Banque de développement du Canada, a pris la parole à titre de conférencier d’honneur de la Grande conférence en gouvernance de sociétés.

Avec pour titre « Réflexions sur la gouvernance », M. Halde s’est dit convaincu, une étude récente le prouvant clairement, que la mise en place de comités consultatifs ou de conseils d’administration dans les PME canadiennes contribue à améliorer substantiellement leur prospérité.

Consultez l’allocution de M. Halde [+]

Photos de la Grande conférence 2015

REMISE DES PRIX DISTINCTION D’HONNEUR

 

Par la même occasion, Mme Sylvie Lalande, présidente du conseil d’administration du Collège, et M. Bruno Déry, président et chef de la direction du Collège, ont remis dix Prix distinction d’honneur en témoignage de reconnaissance à des partenaires pour leur contribution remarquable depuis la création du Collège en 2005. Consultez tous les détails [+]

Prix partenaires fondateurs
Ainsi, les représentants des quatre partenaires fondateurs, soit Me Louis Morisset, Autorité des marchés financiers, Me Nicole Lacasse, Université Laval, Mme Michèle Boisvert, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec et Mme Marlen Carter, ministère du Conseil exécutif du Québec ont reçu les Prix partenaires fondateurs.

Prix partenaires d'excellencePar la suite, le CAS a remis cinq Prix partenaires d’excellence en guise de remerciements pour leur appui inestimable depuis 2005, soit à M. Alain Trudeau, EY, M. Eddie Leschiutta, Deloitte, Mme Suzanne Paquin, Société des alcools du Québec,
M. Guy Langlois, KPMG et M. Pierre Gabriel Côté, Investissement Québec.

Prix BâtisseurEnfin, le Prix Bâtisseur a été décerné à M. Henri-Paul Rousseau, vice-président du conseil de Power Corporation et de la Financière Power, pour son leadership et sa contribution remarquable à la création du CAS en 2005.

LE COLLÈGE RECONNAÎT SES FORMATEURS

 

Dans le cadre des activités du 10e anniversaire, le CAS a organisé un événement intitulé la « Classe des maîtres », un panel de discussion réservé exclusivement aux formateurs et conférenciers des programmes de formation du Collège. Plus de 100 personnes ont assisté à ce panel composé de M. Yvan Allaire de l’Institut sur la gouvernance d’organisations privées et publiques de Montréal, de M. Roger Barker du Institute of Directors de Londres, de Mme Alexandra Lajoux de la National Association of Corporate Directors de Washington et de M. Henri-Paul Rousseau de Power Corporation et de la Financière Power. Consultez les détails et photos [+]

Photos de la Classe des maîtres

Monsieur Gilles Bernier, directeur des programmes du Collège, a profité de cette tribune pour décerner les douze Prix Reconnaissance du CAS 2015, remis à des formateurs ayant donné plus de 25 heures de formation en classe. Ces prix ont été décernés à Lily Adam, EY, Karine Chênevert et Tommy Tremblay, Borden Ladner Gervais, Lisane Dostie, ISALégal inc., Louis J. Duhamel, Deloitte, Nicolle Forget, administratrice de sociétés, Louis-Marie Garant, administrateur de sociétés, Johanne Gélinas, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, Yann Lavallée, EY, Martin Leblanc, KPMG, Paule-Anne Morin, R3D Conseil inc., ainsi que Sébastien Théberge, Ivanhoé Cambridge. Consultez les détails et photos [+]

Photos des Prix Reconnaissance CAS 2015

M. Bernier a également décerné treize Prix Distinction en enseignement, prix 10e anniversaire soulignant l’engagement de professeurs et universitaires de carrière contribuant à la certification en gouvernance de sociétés, et ce, depuis le tout début du Collège ou presque. Ces prix ont été remis à Jean Bédard, Mario Cayer, Yan Cimon, Daniel Coulombe, Raymonde Crête, Yvon Gasse, Maurice Gosselin, Hélène Lee-Gosselin, Jean-François Henri, Nicole Lacasse et Zhan Su, tous de l’Université Laval, ainsi que Laurent Lapierre, HEC Montréal et Gilles Paquet, Université d’Ottawa. Consultez les détails et photos [+]

Photos des Prix distinction en enseignement

PREMIÈRE GRANDE SOIRÉE DE LA GOUVERNANCE

 

Grande soirée de la gouvernanceLe groupe Les Affaires a la plaisir de vous convier à la première Grande soirée de la gouvernance, organisée en partenariat avec le Collège des administrateurs de sociétés, l’Institut des administrateurs de sociétés, section du Québec et l’Institut de la gouvernance d’organisations privées et publiques, le 1er avril 2015, à Montréal.

Des gestes posés par des conseils d’administration des sociétés québécoises, qui contribuent à une meilleure gouvernance et une plus grande création de valeur pour l’organisation et les actionnaires, seront soulignés lors de la soirée.

Réservation et détails de l’événement [+]

 

FORMATIONS DU CAS ET ÉVÉNEMENTS DES PARTENAIRES

 

Gouvernance des PME | 24 et 25 février 2015, à Montréal

Séminaire Gouvernance Express – réservé aux ASC et aux IAS.A. | 17 mars 2015, à Québec

Gouvernance des services financiers | 21 et 22 avril 2015, à Montréal

Gouvernance des OBNL | 24 et 25 avril 2015, à Québec

Gouvernance et leadership à la présidence | 19 et 20 mai 2015, à Montréal

Certification – Module 1 : Les rôles et responsabilités des administrateurs | 17, 18 et 19 septembre 2015, à Québec | 5, 6 et 7 novembre 2015, à Montréal

Petits-déjeuners conférences du Cercle des ASC sur le « Comité de gouvernance : les conditions gagnantes » | 11 février 2015, à Montréal | 25 février 2015, à Québec

Colloque sur les meilleures pratiques et tendances en gestion des risques présenté par l’Ordre des comptables professionnels agréés du Québec | 12 février 2015, à Montréal

Formations du Cercle des ASC sur «Votre CV d’administrateur : comment mettre en valeur votre expertise» | 20 février 2015, à Québec | 12 mars 2015, à Montréal

Programme de l’ecoDa « New Governance Challenges for Board Members in Europe » | 26 et 27 mars 2015, à Bruxelles

NOMINATIONS ET DISTINCTIONS ASC

Pierre Rivard, ASC | Société d’habitation du Québec

Serge Régnier, ASC | Jean Jacques Campeau inc.

Hélène Jacques, ASC | Association des femmes en finance du Québec

Annick Mongeau, ASC | Groupe Sportscene inc.

Martin Lacasse, ASC | Association québécoise de la quincaillerie et des matériaux de construction

Nathalie Parenteau, ASC | Skibec Alpin

Christian Blouin, ASC | Centre Bienvenue

Jean-François Therrien, ASC | Centre de pédiatrie sociale de Lévis

Younes Mihoubi, ASC | École nationale d’administration publique

BOÎTE À OUTILS DES ADMINISTRATEURS 

 

Nouvelle référence mensuelle en gouvernance : 2014 Board Practices Report – Perspectives from the boardroom.

Publication en gouvernance sur le blogue Gouvernance | Jacques Grisé et sur les réseaux sociaux: Top 5 des billets les plus consultés au mois de janvier

Le Collège vous invite à rejoindre le groupe LinkedIn Administrateurs de sociétés – Gouvernance voué aux discussions et échanges sur le thème de la gouvernance et rassemblant une communauté de plus de 1160 administrateurs et gestionnaires.

Bonne lecture !

____________________________________________

Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS)

Faculté des sciences de l’administration, Pavillon Palasis-Prince

2325, rue de la Terrasse, Université Laval, Québec (Québec) G1V 0A6

418 656-2630; 418 656-2624

info@cas.ulaval.ca

 

Le gouvernement résistera-t-il à la tentation partisane de la nomination d’un nouveau PDG à Hydro-Québec ?


Voici un article de Michel Nadeau, ex vice-président de la Caisse de dépôt et placement et directeur général de l’Institut sur la gouvernance (IGOPP), paru dans le Devoir récemment.

L’auteur se questionne, tout comme moi d’ailleurs, sur le processus d’embauche du PDG d’Hydro-Québec et sur la tentation, très réelle, de procéder à une nomination partisane !

Le point de vue de M. Nadeau est tout à fait pertinent eu égard à gouvernance des sociétés d’État.

Ci-dessous, un extrait de l’article.

Bonne lecture. À suivre !

Règles de gouvernance à Hydro-Québec | Nomination du nouveau PDG

Photo: Hydro-Québec

Il était rafraîchissant d’entendre le ministre de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, M. Pierre Arcand, terminer mercredi matin une entrevue chez Marie-France Bazzo en déclarant : « Je vais laisser le conseil d’administration faire le travail et c’est à lui de faire des recommandations quant au successeur de M. Vandal. » Photo: Hydro-Québec

La tentation est toujours très forte dans les cabinets politiques à Québec de passer outre les normes de bonne gouvernance et de sortir un p.-d.g. d’un chapeau partisan. Tout individu a droit à ses convictions politiques, mais l’essentiel est qu’il remplisse les critères de compétence et de crédibilité selon le mandat. À ce chapitre, le premier ministre, M. Philippe Couillard, n’a pas fait vivre un grand moment de gouvernance au Québec en confiant récemment la présidence du conseil d’administration et du comité de gouvernance d’Hydro-Québec à une personne qui n’a aucune expérience dans la gestion du CA d’une grande organisation. Cela étant dit, il faut maintenant faire confiance à M. Michael Penner.

Comme l’indique l’article 11.6 de sa Loi, le conseil d’administration a déjà établi le profil de compétence et d’expérience du candidat recherché….

Le ministre l’a dit : ce n’est pas un choix politique. Le comité des ressources humaines devra trouver le meilleur candidat en interne ou à l’externe sans se gêner pour regarder à l’international. Le CA, qui compte une bonne moitié de gens expérimentés, peut relever ce défi. Les administrateurs pourraient se précipiter sur le bottin de l’Ordre des ingénieurs en cherchant un dirigeant intègre et honnête. Malgré le flou accusateur des audiences de la commission Charbonneau, ce profil peut encore se trouver. Mais rappelons-nous que le marché de l’énergie a beaucoup changé et que l’époque de la construction de grands barrages dans les milliards de dollars et les régions lointaines est, pour le moment, chose du passé. Au cours des prochaines années, la priorité sera davantage la gestion serrée des actifs actuels de 73 milliards et un contrôle rigoureux de l’utilisation des revenus de 13 milliards. Les usagers veulent des gestionnaires intelligents… Pas juste des compteurs !

Cette nomination sera un indicateur du sérieux de ce gouvernement dans la gouvernance et la gestion du plus important outil de développement économique et industriel du Québec.

Paula doit prendre une décision très délicate et déterminante au conseil | Cas en gouvernance


Voici un cas publié sur le site de Julie McLelland qui aborde un problème relatif à la conduite d’un conseil d’administration de petite entreprise, dans un contexte de conflit d’intérêt et de malversations potentielles. Paula, la nouvelle administratrice doit prendre une décision très délicate !

Le cas présente la situation de manière très claire, puis trois experts se prononcent sur le dilemme que vit la nouvelle membre du C.A.

Bonne lecture ! Vos commentaires sont toujours les bienvenus.

Une décision difficile au conseil : Le cas de Paula

En rappel : Le Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) propose une formation spécialisée en gouvernance des PME


Le Collège des administrateurs de sociétés (CAS) offre un cours haut de gamme en gouvernance des PME destiné aux chefs d’entreprise, hauts dirigeants, investisseurs et administrateurs appelés à siéger sur les conseils d’administration ou sur les comités consultatifs de PME. Cette formation, offerte les 24 et 25 février prochains à Montréal, a pour objectifs de :

  1. Réfléchir et échanger entre chefs d’entreprise, haut-dirigeants, investisseurs et administrateurs de PME sur les pratiques de gouvernance les mieux adaptées et les plus efficaces pour ce type d’entreprise.
  2. Poser un regard réaliste sur la gouvernance actuelle et future des PME.
  3. Outiller les participants afin de faciliter les transformations nécessaires à la pérennité et/ou la croissance des PME les concernant.

Image nouveau logo CAS sept 2013

Gouvernance des PME 

Voici un aperçu des thèmes abordés :

  1. La gouvernance dans les PME : une mise en contexte
  2. La question du partage des responsabilitésIMG_20140921_133847
  3. Les intérêts et les défis personnels du chef d’entreprise lors de l’arrivée de tiers
  4. Le comité consultatif ou le conseil d’administration : vers les meilleures pratiques
  5. Les avantages et inconvénients perçus par les différentes parties prenantes des mécanismes de gouvernance
  6. La famille et l’entreprise
  7. Le rôle du capital de risque dans les PME
  8. L’évaluation financière d’une PME, un défi pour le partenariat
  9. La planification stratégique au sein des PME
  10. Une gouvernance créatrice de valeur chez Marquis Imprimeur
  11. Et maintenant, je fais quoi demain?

 

Plus d’information sur le site du CAS : Formations spécialisées du CAS.

Bonne lecture !

Les relations entre les devoirs des administrateurs et la responsabilité sociale des entreprises (RSE)


Ivan Tchotourian*, professeur en droit des affaires à l’Université Laval, vient de publier un ouvrage dans la collection du Centre d’Études en Droit Économique (CÉDÉ). Cet ouvrage aborde la gouvernance d’entreprise et les devoirs des administrateurs.

Intitulé « Devoir de prudence et de diligence des administrateurs et RSE : Approche comparative et prospective », ce livre analyse les liens entre les devoirs des administrateurs et la responsabilité sociale des entreprises (RSE).

L’interrogation centrale qu’aborde cette publication est de savoir ce qu’on attend aujourd’hui d’un administrateur de société prudent et diligent. De nos jours, une réflexion s’impose sur la prudence et la diligence dont doit faire preuve chaque administrateur. Après avoir exposé le devoir de prudence et de diligence des administrateurs dans ce qui fait son histoire et son actualité, les auteurs offrent une vision prospective sur le devenir de cette norme de conduite au tournant du XXe siècle faisant place à une responsabilisation croissante des sociétés par actions.

IMG00286-20100629-2027_2

Dans cet ouvrage, les auteurs s’interrogent de manière innovante sur le contenu du devoir de prudence et de diligence au regard de l’émergence des préoccupations liées à la RSE. Sous l’influence de facteurs macro juridiques et micro juridiques, la norme de conduite prudente et diligente des administrateurs évolue. La norme d’aujourd’hui ne sera sans doute plus celle de demain, encore faut-il pleinement en saisir les implications juridiques.

A priori, cet ouvrage devrait intéresser un certain nombre de lecteurs en gouvernance. En voici un bref aperçu :

La responsabilité sociale des entreprises et le développement durable sont devenus des objectifs tant politiques qu’économiques conférant de nouvelles attentes vis-à-vis du comportement des entreprises. Ces dernières détenant un pouvoir considérable, chacune de leurs décisions a des implications sur l’économie, l’emploi, l’environnement et la communauté locale. Au vu de ces observations, la norme de prudence et de diligence doit faire l’objet d’une attention renouvelée par les juristes non seulement dans ce qu’elle est aujourd’hui au Québec, au Canada et ailleurs, mais encore dans ce qu’elle se prépare à être dans un proche avenir.

Cet ouvrage s’intéresse à cette question en deux temps. La première partie de l’ouvrage détaille le devoir de gestion intelligente des administrateurs de sociétés dans une approche de droit comparé. La deuxième partie de l’ouvrage trace les grandes lignes de la norme de prudence et de diligence du XXI e siècle. En conclusion, l’auteur présente quelques réflexions prospectives.

Aperçu de la table des matières

Chapitre 1 – Introduction

Chapitre 2 – La norme de prudence et de diligence d’aujourd’hui

Prolégomènes sur le statut juridique des administrateurs

La norme de prudence et de diligence : des premières esquisses à l’ère des codifications

Contenu et régime du devoir de prudence et de diligence

Discussion autour de l’existence d’un recours judiciaire au profit du tiers

Chapitre 3 – La norme de prudence et de diligence de demain

Facteurs macro juridiques d’évolution Facteurs micro juridiques

Chapitre 4 – Conclusion

Postface

Bibliographie

Table de la législation

Table de la jurisprudence

Index analytique

Pour en savoir davantage.

 

*Ivan Tchotourian, professeur en droit des affaires, codirecteur du Centre d’Études en Droit Économique (CÉDÉ), membre du Groupe de recherche en droit des services financiers (www.grdsf.ulaval.ca), Faculté de droit, Université Laval.

 

Pourquoi un C.A. a-t-il besoin d’administrateurs externes … et indépendants ?


Aujourd’hui, je vous recommande cette brève lecture dominicale sur les bénéfices à retirer d’un conseil composé, en tout ou en partie, d’administrateurs externes, mais … indépendants.

L’article est récemment paru sur le blogue de * un spécialiste des questions de gouvernance. Nous avons déjà publié un article de cet auteur sur notre blogue il y a un an.

Selon nous, l’admission d’administrateurs externes au sein du conseil est l’une des actions les plus profitables pour tous les types d’entreprises, qu’elles soient, cotées, privées, PME, familiales, coopératives, gouvernementales, ou à but non lucratif.

Selon votre expérience, quels sont les autres avantages qui vous paraissent importants ? Pouvez-vous faire un témoignage en faveur d’un conseil composé uniquement d’administrateurs externes ? Je serais heureux de publier un recueil de bonnes pratiques à ce sujet.

Voici trois autres billets publiés sur mon blogue au cours des dernières années.

Contribution des administrateurs externes à la vision des entreprises

Les bénéfices reliés à la nomination d’administrateurs externes au sein d’une PME

Un argumentaire en faveur du choix d’administrateurs externes au C.A.

Bonne lecture. J’attends vos commentaires !

Why Your Board Needs Outside Directors

Boards without outside directors do not make objective decisions. Boards need outside directors to see all sides of a problem and find the best solution. Outside directors bring incredible value with their “fresh eyes.”369

I believe boards that have not brought somebody new to the organization in the last one to two years run the risk of stalling the growth of the company.

Public companies are obligated to have outside directors, but private and family businesses are not. The Wall Street Journal states: “In US public companies, outside directors make up 66% of all boards and 72% of S&P 500 company boards.”

7 Benefits of Outside Directors:

  1. Unbiased advice: Their advice is not tainted by the existing boards views and politics.
  2. Different perspective than insiders: A CEO needs different views and perspectives to problems that only outsiders can bring. This is especially true for a family business.
  3. Objective: Outsiders have been there and done that and can add the objective advice that boards need to distinguish crises and normal situations.
  4. New skills: New board members skills and experiences bring a different view to problems and discussions.
  5. Credibility: It sends the message that you are a serious organization. This can help with negotiating new financing, selling the company or an IPO.
  6. New resources and contacts: Outside directors bring a whole new set of contacts and connections that can be leveraged. Contact introductions include customers, suppliers, and bankers.
  7. On your side: Outside directors are on management’s side and will give opinions and advice that the company’s lawyers, accountants and bankers cannot give.

I was chairman, CEO and board director of SafeData, a data backup and recovery company. Our premium service offering was cloud-based high availability. High availability is data replication from one server to another.

We had an exceptional outside director who benefited us in all 7 areas. We spoke with him daily. He made the difference in our growth and successful sale of the company.

______________________________

** Outside Director | Interim CEO | CEO | Growth Strategist | Technology | Industrial | CEO Coach & Advisor

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