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NBIM Seeks Proxy Access at Six US Companies

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NBIM NYC Office

According to the press release, “Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), manager of the $550 billion Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, has filed shareholder proposals for proxy access at six US companies as part of its efforts to strengthen shareholder rights.

NBIM filed proposals on Nov. 22 at Wells Fargo, Charles Schwab, Western Union, Staples, Pioneer Natural Resources and CME Group to give shareholders the right to nominate candidates for board elections on company ballots. At filing, the fund held stakes of 0.6 percent to 1.1 percent in these companies, valued at a total $1.4 billion.

The right to nominate candidates to the board of publicly listed companies is a fundamental principle of good corporate governance. While this is upheld by US law, the process is cumbersome and costly because shareholders must submit alternative agendas at annual general meetings and distribute documentation among investors. Proxy access simplifies this process by allowing shareholders to put their nominees straight on the company’s agenda.

“Board members must be held accountable,” says Anne Kvam, global head of ownership policy at NBIM. “When they fail to meet our expectations, we as shareholders should be able to propose alternatives without incurring prohibitively high costs.”

The US Court of Appeals in July rejected a proposal by the US Securities and Exchange Commission to introduce universal proxy access. In the absence of such a rule, NBIM will seek to change the bylaws at US companies where it is particularly important for shareholders to be able to nominate alternative board members, such as corporations that have demonstrated poor corporate governance or unsatisfactory financial performance.

“This is the first time we file proxy access proposals,” says Kvam. “We will continue to identify companies with unsatisfactory performance.”

NBIM proposes each company establish a procedure for shareholders to nominate candidates to the board on the company’s ballot, subject to limits. Shareholders should own a minimum 1 percent of common stock for at least one year to nominate members and may propose no more than 25 percent of a board’s members. A maximum of 25 percent of the members of an elected board may have been nominated by shareholders. The six companies’ annual general meetings will be held in the second quarter of 2012.”

Read more: NBIM Press Release

Saudi and Other Gulf Country Bonds to Join JPMorgan Emerging Market Bond Index

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In a boost for Gulf-based debt, JPMorgan is adding their debt compositions to two influential emerging market bond indexes. These emerging market indexes are the most widely tracked among asset managers in the industry. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar are being added to the J.P. Morgan EMBI Global Diversified Index and the EMBI Global, starting January 31, 2019. [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Central Bank of Nigeria Reveals Plan for New National Micro-Finance Bank

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced plans for a new national micro-finance bank. The proposed bank will promote small and medium enterprises.

CBN’s governor, Godwin Emefiele, noted that the bank will partner with the Bankers Committee, the Nigeria Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, and the Nigerian Postal Service. Emefiele laid out the vision for the bank in his remarks in Abuja: “The bank will serve as an efficient channel for the disbursement and monitoring of key intervention funds by the CBN.” Nigeria’s micro-finance bank will be focused on meeting financial inclusion targets, promoting financial stability within the country, and fostering widespread economic growth.

[ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Mergermarket Gets Ready to be Sold

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Private equity firm BC Partners hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise on the sales of Acuris. Acuris is a collection of financial news and data sites, which includes Mergermarket, Dealreporter, and Debtwire. In 2017, BC Partners sold around a 30% stake in GIC Private Limited.

Before the rebranding to Acuris, Mergermarket was part of The Financial Times Group until 2013 when it was sold off to BC Partners.

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