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News digest 06/11/15: Takeover panel censures firms

06 November 2015 by Henry Ker

Takeover Panel censures firms over Bumi incident - read more

Takeover Panel censures firms over Bumi incident

The Takeover Panel has publicly censured Credit Suisse and law firms Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Holman Fenwick Willan for breaching the code of conduct rules in the creation of Bumi, an Indonesian coal miner.

The firms allegedly brought Bumi near bankruptcy before it was privatised earlier this year. JP Morgan has also been criticised by the panel, although has not been censured.

This is the first time in the Takeover Panel’s history that it has censured a law firm.

The penalty is as a powerful sanction in London investment banking, although no fine accompanies it, and will hang over all those involved.

Good governance must be paid for

Donors should ‘grow up’ and understand good governance does not come for free, Margaret Casely-Hayford said at the closing plenary at NCVO’s Trustee Conference. The chair of ActionAid UK added that every large charity should have someone responsible for governance.

‘In my view there needs to be a significant realignment in the minds of the public and the media about governance. Let’s be up-front about its importance and let’s be up-front about its cost.’

Incoming cyber regulation

Companies around the world are preparing for an influx of cyber security regulation. Governments are attempting to push companies to build more resilient defences against hacking, and measures include a proposed fine of up to 5% of a business's global turnover or €100 million.

According to the Ponemon Institute, the cost of cyber attacks on businesses was up 14% in Britain last year, and the average cost is highest among financial services, utility and energy and communications companies.

Call to peg bankers pay to gender diversity

There is a new push for financial services managers to have their remuneration tied to gender diversity targets in their organisation.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, chief executive of Virgin Money, set out several proposals to tackle the gender imbalance in the finance sector. The key one being to link city executives’ bonuses to the number of women appointed in senior roles.

Politicians are backing the move, calling for a shift away from the ‘laddish’ culture which permeates the industry.

Boards backed 90% of the time

Asset managers are not holding the companies they invest in properly to account as they back the boards 90% of the time, according to research from Proxy Insight. The figures are representative of fund managers voting at annual general meetings for the 2014/15 season, which suggest they are not acting in investors best interests.

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