We all talk a good game on ESG integration. Compared with a few years ago, we’re much further down the line with ESG reporting, investor messaging and definitions of materiality. But if an issue is truly material to your business, should it not be tied to executive compensation? That’s what some investors think, and it’s the focus of our cover feature this issue.
Executive compensation is a complicated topic and varies notably by region so we’ve split the feature into three sections – North America, Europe and Asia – to observe the different approaches around the world.
Speaking of pay, say-on-pay votes always generate interest and headlines. In Europe, there’s a growing movement, led by the Children’s Investment Fund, to add say-on-climate votes to the annual meeting agenda. Several companies are taking note, including Royal Dutch Shell, Glencore, Rio Tinto, Moody’s and CN. The frequency of these votes may vary for all of these companies, but it’s an environmental and governance topic to look out for in the future, as Tim Human explores.
For the growing number of IR professionals joining private companies, investor votes are not a concern. There are some striking differences between IR at pre-public and public companies, but also some surprising similarities – from mock earnings calls to conference participation. I speak to a number of IROs to hear about their recent experiences away from the scrutiny of the public markets.
Elsewhere, we profile the roller-coaster ride that is the Star Market, learn about how some public company executives are changing how they talk when they know artificial intelligence-powered tech is listening in for implicit signals of positive or negative sentiment, and welcome a new regular column: Opening bell, where we’ll interview IROs about a corporate transaction they have worked on recently. In this issue, we hear about Genmab’s dual-listing story.
It’s been a remarkable year of disruption, hard work and resilience. I hope you and your loved ones have stayed safe and sane. This winter has been hard for many but, with the rollouts of multiple vaccines, the days getting longer and the sun coming out, I’m hopeful for the future.
As ever, please do get in touch with any questions, comments or suggestions about this issue.
Ben Ashwell, editor IR Magazine