Investors and companies unite to help boards take account of employee and other stakeholder views

London, 13 January 2017 – Governance leaders in UK business and investment are launching a joint project to ensure UK PLC boards understand the views of their employees and other stakeholders which should then be factored into their decision making.

Led by ICSA: The Governance Institute and the Investment Association, with input from a wide range of stakeholders, the project aims to tackle concerns that the voices of key groups such as employees, customers and suppliers are not being heard at the highest levels of British business.

The two bodies will identify existing best practice and produce practical guidance to enhance understanding of the interests of employees and other stakeholders, in accordance with board duties under Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006.

The guidance will identify different approaches to stakeholder engagement for companies to consider, summarising the issues to be addressed and the practical steps to be taken. These will include the different approaches identified in the Government’s Green Paper on corporate governance reform.

It will cover:

  • The ways in which companies can identify non-executive directors with relevant stakeholder experience
  • The processes by which boards can receive the views of their key stakeholders; and
  • How training and induction can be used to enhance directors’ understanding of their duties and the interests of, and impact on, different stakeholders

The guidance, which will be published in the second quarter of 2017, will also offer a set of options for companies to appropriately report how they have fulfilled their duties in this area.

Announcing the project, Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director at ICSA: The Governance Institute, said:

“We agree with the Government that the views of stakeholders need to be heard by boards. Companies benefit from having constructive engagement with their employees, customers and other stakeholders, and from having a broad range of perspectives around the boardroom table.

“Many companies already do this effectively, but our guidance is intended to assist those boards that feel the need to act now to improve their engagement with and understanding of the views of their stakeholders, rather than waiting for the Government or the FRC to complete any actions they might take as a result of the current consultation.

“We believe that market-led reform is more likely to create effective solutions and, by bringing together the perspectives of company secretaries and investors, with input from stakeholders and other experts, that we will be able to draw on the existing best practice and develop new guidance which will be practical to implement for companies.”

Andrew Ninian, Director of Corporate Governance at the Investment Association, said:

“The investment industry stands fully behind the Government’s efforts to create a corporate Britain that is built for the long-term, and this initiative illustrates that the asset management industry is at the forefront of improving corporate governance in the UK.

“Boards have a collective responsibility to make better long-term decisions for all their stakeholders. Our joint guidance will be designed to ensure that the broadest range of views and perspectives are heard around the boardroom table.” 

- Ends -

For further information, please contact:

Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director, ICSA: The Governance Institute

pswabey@icsa.org.uk

+44 (0)20 7612 7014

+44 (0)7850 584552

 

Chris Hodge, Policy Adviser, ICSA: The Governance Institute

chodge@icsa.org.uk

+44 (0)7738 784064

The Investment Association press office

press@theia.org

+44 (0)20 7831 0898 

 

 

Notes to Editors:

 

  1. ICSA: The Governance Institute is the professional body for governance. We have members in all sectors and are required by our Royal Charter to lead ‘effective governance and efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs’. With 125 years’ experience, we work with regulators and policy makers to champion high standards of governance and provide qualifications, training and guidance.
    Website: www.icsa.org.uk
  2. About the Investment Association:
    The Investment Association is the trade body that represents UK investment managers who manage over £5.7 trillion on behalf of clients.

    Our purpose is to ensure investment managers are in the best possible position to:
    • Build people’s resilience to financial adversity
    • Help people achieve their financial aspirations
    • Enable people to maintain a decent standard of living as they grow older
    • Contribute to economic growth through the efficient allocation of capital
    The money our members manage is in a wide variety of investment vehicles including authorised investment funds, pension funds and stocks and shares ISAs.

    The UK is the second largest investment management centre in the world, after the US and manages 37% of all assets managed in Europe.

 

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