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This week’s edition of Corporate highlights includes three thematic reports published by the FRC to help companies improve their corporate reporting in known areas of difficulty, the latest FCA Handbook Notice and MiFID 2 guide and Sir Philip Hampton’s challenge for FTSE 350 companies to increase board diversity.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has published three thematic reports to help companies improve the quality of their corporate reporting in acknowledged areas of difficulty: judgments and estimates, pension disclosures and alternative performance measures (APMs). The reports set out findings from the FRC’s 2016/17 thematic reviews to which companies can refer when preparing their next report and accounts.
The FRC informed sixty companies before their year-end that one of the three themes would be reviewed in their next reports and accounts. The thematic reviews contain the most significant improvements, including extracts from the better disclosures which most closely matched the FRC’s expectations. The FRC expects other companies to use the better examples observed to assess the quality of their own reporting and raise the bar on their disclosures.
Paul George, FRC’s executive director for corporate governance and reporting, said: ‘The great majority of companies approached clearly reviewed and revised the relevant disclosures prior to releasing their next set of report and accounts, which provided better quality information to the market in a timely manner. Many sharpened, and some shortened, the relevant information with a view to providing more granular detail about the issues that really matter to those reading their reports and accounts and wanting a better understanding of the key issues and of how management is dealing with them. We expect others to similarly review their own reports and accounts and look to the characteristics of the better disclosures we identified to inform the continuing development of their reporting’.
For further information, see LNB News 09/11/2017 134.
Sir Philip Hampton has urged businesses to renew their commitment to diversity and has challenged all FTSE 350 businesses to fill one third of their senior leadership positions below board level with women. His government-backed review finds FTSE 100 companies are on track to meet the 33% target for women on boards by 2020.
The Hampton-Alexander Review 2017, a follow on from the initial Hampton-Alexander Review published in November 2016, found positive improvements in gender diversity. The number of women on FTSE 100 company boards has ‘more than doubled’ over the last six years—from 12.5% in 2011 to 27.7% in 2017. However in a bid to quicken the pace of change Sir Philip has extended the 33% target to senior leadership positions of all FTSE 350 companies, which was previously only applied to FTSE 100 companies. Sir Philip believes ‘at least 40% of appointments to senior positions will have to be filled by women over the next three years if FTSE 350 firms are to hit the ambitious targets’.
For further information, see LNB News 09/11/2017 100.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published Handbook Notice No 49, which includes changes to the FCA Handbook and other materials made by the FCA Board on 9 November 2017, together with feedback on the corresponding consultations. Changes include a new guide to MiFID 2 (which is made up of the recast Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and the Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation).
The new MiFID 2 Guide (M2G) will sit on the FCA Handbook website but will not form part of the Handbook. In summary, it aims to help users of the FCA Handbook navigate the complexities of MiFID 2. The guide sets out an overview of the FCA’s approach to transposition of MiFID 2 in the MAR and REC sourcebooks. It focuses on the regulatory regime in MiFID 2 for trading venues and data reporting services providers.
See news, LNB News 10/11/2017 97.
The European Commission has opened a consultation on institutional investors and asset managers’ duties regarding sustainability. The EU wants its financial system to be aligned with its sustainability objectives and so is looking to incorporate sustainability elements into EU financial services policies. The consultation follows the July 2017 recommendation by the High Level Expert Group on sustainable finance that the Commission clarify that the fiduciary duties (loyalty and prudence) of institutional investors and asset managers explicitly include material environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and long-term sustainability. Feedback is sought by 22 January 2018.
The Commission argues that consideration of ESG factors would help asset managers and institutional investors allocate capital more efficiently by taking into account sustainability risks, rather than merely seeking to maximise short-term financial returns.
The consultation forms part of the Commission's efforts to mobilise private capital towards green and sustainable investments to enable the transition to a low-carbon economy and shows the EU's strong commitment to mitigate risks posed by climate change and environmental challenges.
See news story, LNB News 13/11/2017 42.
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