The year ahead

Remuneration, the possibility of taxation change reversal and increased shareholder and activist rights are set to dominate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) agendas in 2015.

According to a research note issued by Macquarie Wealth Management, a number of dominant themes in 2014 will lay the foundations for the year ahead. Chief among these is the growing presence of shareholder activists pushing for board seats and greater rights following non-board endorsed resolutions in 2014.

Of notable importance over the last year and into the next is improved communication among companies outside the S&P/ASX 100, with a decline in the strike rate suggesting an improvement in communication between boards and their shareholders on executive remuneration.

However, the Macquarie analysis shows that a third of companies received protest votes on resolutions at their annual general meetings last year, with 48 per cent of those relating to a remuneration-related issue, 42 per cent to director election and the remaining 10 per cent related to another issue. This suggests director and staff remuneration is likely to continue to dominate the landscape in 2015.

To read the research note click here.