International Corporate Governance Network to draft global code

International Corporate Governance Network to draft global code

The International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) is drafting a global stewardship code building on similar initiatives in Japan and the UK.

Outlining its policy goals for 2015-16, the body representing $26trn (€23.5trn) in assets said it would focus on the promotion of long-term investment while ensuring minority shareholder rights were preserved.

It also said it would look at how to make stewardship “a reality to support sustainable financial markets”.

George Dallas, the organisation’s policy director, said: “The Priorities help place into context key policy initiatives we are working on, including the development of a global stewardship code and our work in challenging differential ownership rights in markets around the world.”

A number of countries have developed codes governing the approach of investors toward engagement – including the code for external governance drafted by the European Fund and Asset Management Association and a guide to voting drafted by Switzerland’s Ethos Foundation

However, only Japan and the UK have seen their codes drafted by regulators, with the Stewardship Code published by the Financial Reporting Council in 2010.

In the wake of its release, the European Federation for Retirement Provision – now PensionsEurope – suggested the creation of a Europe-wide code.

The Japanese equivalent, backed by the Financial Services Agency, formed part of prime minister Shinzō Abe’s reform programme, and came as part of a push to place a heavier emphasis on return on equity by Japanese listed companies.