ISS kicked off its annual global policy formulation process in July 2014 by inviting institutional investors, corporate issuers, corporate directors and various other governance market constituents to participate in its 2015proxy voting policy survey. This year, the survey has been streamlined to encourage global market participants to provide regional input on corporate governance issues that are pertinent to all capital markets worldwide.
In addition to its global survey, ISS will conduct a variety of regionally-based, topic-specific roundtables and conference calls to drill into local market best practices, which factor into the development of policy guidelines. ISS will then open a 30-day comment period for all interested market participants.
“Survey questions this year cover a range of issues, globally, including those related to board diversity, reporting on environmental and social performance goals, and the relationship between goal-setting and award values when evaluating pay for performance,” said Dr. Martha Carter, ISS’ Head of Global Research and Policy “Specific to the U.S., this year’s survey will also gauge views on the importance of company practices, cost, and features relative to ISS’ evaluation of equity plans, which is timely given the sharper focus on such resolutions at U.S. companies this proxy season. Market input on this particular issue will facilitate plans to implement a ‘balanced scorecard’ approach for ISS’ assessment of stock plan proposals.”
The open comment period is designed to elicit objective, specific feedback from investors, corporate issuers and industry constituents on the practical implementation of proposed policies. Unless specifically requested by the submitter, feedback received during the open comment period will be made available via ISS’ online Policy Gateway.
“This year marks the 10th that ISS has solicited the opinion of governance market constituents in formulating our benchmark voting policies and speaks to our commitment to transparency and inclusiveness,” said ISS President & CEO Gary Retelny. “The significant input we receive ensures that ISS’ policies reflect market best practices, create dialogue around important issues and, most importantly, serve the proxy voting needs of our institutional clients worldwide.”