The 2019 Report of the Observatory on Corporate Governance Excellence in Italy by the European House – Ambrosetti, now in its 15th edition, was presented in Milan.
The quality of corporate governance in Italian listed companies continues to improve: this is the picture to emerge from the analysis carried out by The European House – Ambrosetti Observatory on Corporate Governance Excellence in Italy in its 15th report, presented in Milan.
In fact, the score of the EG Index, calculated on the basis of 32 indicators involving the primary areas of corporate governance, has increased over time, not only for FTSE MIB companies, but also for smaller firms in the MID CAP and STAR SMALL segments. Alongside the positive trends involving independents and female representation on boards of directors are also the aspects of the alignment between corporate performance and executive compensation, remuneration transparency and adoption of top management succession plans. Also of note, the existence of a positive relationship between the quality of governance and corporate results. In 68% of cases in the FTSE MIB segment there is a coherence between the positioning within the 2019 EG Index and the ranking by the respective Total Shareholder Return (compared to a European reference peer group) of the last three years.
Management of sustainability-related issues is increasingly one of the areas of major attention for companies, including in relation to governance systems. In this area, the rankings in the 2019 Sustainability Index prepared by the Observatory involving the main listed Italian companies indicate that it is, above all, the larger companies which show greater attention to sustainability. For example, by developing mechanisms within the company to integrate sustainability into the company’s business or connecting variable retribution systems with specially-created parameters.
Among the other points of focus of the 2019 Observatory are: the recent French legislation involving devoir de vigilance of large French parent companies (developed in collaboration with the BonelliErede legal firm); comparison of the recommendations of the Self-Regulation Code for the “Big-5” EU countries; analysis of the voting policies of the main institutional investors and proxy advisors; and the duty to act in an informed manner: the information flows in the administration and control system.
Also presented were the results of the updating of the fourth biennial survey of institutional investors (the survey sample represents 11% of Assets Under Management on a global level). Again in the 2019 survey, the quality of corporate governance remained at the top of the criteria adopted in selecting potential targets in which to invest. Of those responding, 76% declared that, in terms of the policies adopted in selecting potential investment targets, the formulation of sustainability goals is requested that can be monitored over time and, if possible, are integrated within the normal business goals.
Offering their experiences during the 2019 Corporate Governance workshop were: Mirza Baig, Global Head of Governance, Aviva Investors; Elisabetta Bellini, Managing Associate, Studio Legale BonelliErede; Fabio Bonomo, Head of Corporate Affairs, Enel; Valerio De Molli, Managing Partner and CEO, The European House – Ambrosetti; Sergio Erede, Founding Partner, Studio Legale BonelliErede; Enrico Falck, Chairman, Falck Renewables; Patrick Fiorani, Research and Engagement Specialist, Continental Europe, Glass Lewis; Patrizia Grieco, President, Committee for Corporate Governance; Chairman of the Board of Directors, Enel; Maria Lombardo, Head of Responsible Investment, EMEA, Invesco Asset Management; Piergaetano Marchetti, Professor Emeritus, Università “L. Bocconi”; Andrea Parrella, Group General Counsel, Leonardo; Stefano Preda, Full Professor of Financial Markets and Institutions, Politecnico di Milano; Marco Visani, Head of Corporate Governance and Executive Compensation, The European House – Ambrosetti.
These and other findings are contained in the 2019 Report of the Observatory on Corporate Governance Excellence in Italy, produced in collaboration with Enel, Falck Renewables, Intesa Sanpaolo, Lavazza, Leonardo, Pirelli & C. and Terna.