The week in investor relations: CEO changes, ETF assets and a new exchange
– Rio Tinto CEO Jean-Sébastien Jacques agreed to step down following intense criticism of the miner after it blew up rock shelters in Australia important to the Aboriginal community, reported the Guardian. The company’s head of iron ore and group executive of corporate relations will also leave. Investors had criticized a previous decision by the board to only cut short-term bonuses in response to the situation.
– The International Organization of Securities Commissions, an association for securities regulators, will investigate ways to harmonize ESG reporting practices, according to the Financial Times (paywall). The body will look for shared characteristics across different disclosure standards to help make information more comparable. Companies currently make use of a wide variety of sustainability reporting frameworks.
– The FT also noted that assets managed by ETFs have passed $7 tn for the first time. Investors have invested $428 bn of new money into ETFs this year, reported the article, citing data from consultancy ETFGI. Global action by regulators to stimulate economies during the Covid-19 pandemic has helped drive more money toward ETFs.
– Insurance Europe, a trade body, said insurers should not be banned from paying dividends, reported Reuters. The comments came in response to a consultation by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors. Regulators should ‘refrain from imposing country or regional blanket bans on dividends,’ said Insurance Europe. Authorities in the EU and UK have encouraged insurers to halt shareholder payouts during the pandemic.
– Citigroup announced that Jane Fraser will become CEO from next February, a move that will make her the first female leader of a major US bank, explained Reuters. She is currently consumer banking head at the company. ‘Fraser’s promotion to CEO was celebrated as a step in the right direction for an industry that has few women or diverse executives in its top ranks,’ noted the article.
– The Long-Term Stock Exchange has launched in the US with the aim of supporting companies that want to raise capital while focusing on long-term value creation, reported Pensions & Investments. ‘Companies that list shares will be required to publish policies focusing on long-term value creation and provide shareholders and other stakeholders with insight into how the companies will operate for the long term,’ explained the article.
– Guild Esports, a venture backed by former UK footballer David Beckham, will become the first esports team to list in the UK, reported the BBC. The firm plans to have teams competing in some of the most popular online games, such as Fortnite and Fifa. It aims to raise £20 mn ($26 mn) to grow its business – for example, through signing new players.