Directors back tougher corporate penalties

Original article by Sally Patten
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 25-Oct-18

Rising global protectionism has been identified as the biggest economic challenge facing local companies, according to a new survey by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. The bi-annual sentiment survey also shows that long-term growth prospects is the key issue that keeps directors awake at night. Meanwhile, more than 80 per cent of respondents have expressed support for the federal government’s push to increase the criminal and civil penalties for misconduct in the corporate sector.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF COMPANY DIRECTORS, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, FISHBURNERS LIMITED, SIRTEX MEDICAL LIMITED – ASX SRX

NAB’s Henry calls for action on forgotten tax system review

Original article by James Eyers, James Thomson
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 9 : 18-Dec-17

Ken Henry prepared a major report into Australia’s tax system in 2010, when he was secretary of the Treasury under former prime minister Kevin Rudd. Henry is currently chairman of National Australia Bank. When asked by a shareholder at its AGM on 15 December whether he favoured tax reform, he said that there were lots of proposals in his 2010 report that he would like to see adopted, including a reduction in the company tax rate.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA

Myer director hits back at Lew over experience

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 19 : 21-Nov-17

Myer director Ian Cornell believes major shareholder Solomon Lew is wrong to claim that the Myer board lacks retail experience. Lew, whose Premier Investments owns 10.8 per cent of the department store chain’s shares, has been increasingly critical of the Myer board in recent months. Lew’s contention that it does not have enough retail experience has been one of his criticisms. Cornell’s retail experience includes over 20 years with Woolworths, and he is also on the board of retailer Baby Bunting. Myer will hold its AGM on 24 November, and Lew has promised to oppose all resolutions

CORPORATES
MYER HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX MYR, PREMIER INVESTMENTS LIMITED – ASX PMV, WOOLWORTHS LIMITED – ASX WOW, BABY BUNTING GROUP LIMITED – ASX BBN, WESTFIELD CORPORATION – ASX WFD, BABY BUNTING GROUP LIMITED – ASX BBN, FRANKLINS LIMITED

ASIC eyes case against CBA board

Original article by Anne Hyland
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 12 : 11-Aug-17

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission may be contemplating action against Commonwealth Bank of Australia directors in regard to its money-laundering problems. Lawyers suggest that there could be certain areas that ASIC could focus on when considering such action, including the level of the CBA’s disclosure concerning AUSTRAC’s allegations against it. CBA chair Catherine Livingstone has been told that the Federal Government is still considering its options in regard to what actions to take against the bank.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S DEPT. AUSTRALIAN TRANSACTION REPORTS AND ANALYSIS CENTRE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, COMMINSURE, STORM FINANCIAL LIMITED, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE

Ten chairman sold down stake

Original article by Darren Davidson
The Australian – Page: 23 : 26-Jun-17

Ten Network chairman David Gordon is likely to come under scrutiny amid revelations that he reduced his stake in the TV broadcaster from 247,500 shares in 2015 to 29,433 in 2016. Ten’s administrator KordaMentha is also under scrutiny over its relationship as an adviser to Ten in the months prior to its collapse. Meanwhile, Ten had advised in early 2017 of a 5.6 per cent downturn in the metropolitan advertising market, only two months after issuing an earnings downgrade. It is uncertain whether Ten’s board undertook modelling at this time on the potential impact on cashflow if the advertising market deteriorated further.

CORPORATES
TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX TEN, KORDA MENTHA AND COLLEAGUES PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, WIN CORPORATION PTY LTD, FOXTEL MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, BIRKETU PTY LTD, TELSTRA CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX TLS, ILLYRIA PTY LTD, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIAN RESTRUCTURING INSOLVENCY AND TURNAROUND ASSOCIATION, GILBERT AND TOBIN LAWYERS, DESTRA CORPORATION LIMITED, FORT STREET ADVISERS PTY LTD, ALLEN AND OVERY

Boards ‘not tough enough’ to tackle complex pay packages

Original article by Damon Kitney
The Australian – Page: 23 : 5-May-17

Australian company boards have been urged to adopt a tougher approach when it comes to dealing with executive remuneration. Paula Dwyer, the chair of both Tabcorp and Healthscope, has told the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors conference that the general public expects directors to hold their executives to account when it comes to meeting pay targets, while she noted that some executive pay packages are excessively complex. Both Dwyer and Aurizon chairman Tim Poole agreed that Australian boards are too risk-adverse.

CORPORATES
TABCORP HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX TAH, HEALTHSCOPE LIMITED – ASX HSO, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, AURIZON HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX AZJ, SCENTRE GROUP – ASX SCG, AUSTRALIA POST, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, OZ MINERALS LIMITED – ASX OZL

No ‘girls club’ in the top boardrooms

Original article by Damon Kitney
The Australian – Page: 19 & 22 : 3-Mar-16

An Australian Council of Superannuation Investors report in 2015 showed that women accounted for almost 40 per cent of the directors who were appointed by S&P/ASX 100 companies in the previous 12 months. However, about 50 per cent them already held directorships at other companies. Australian Institute of Company Directors chair Elizabeth Proust rejects suggestions of a "girls club" at ASX 100 companies, but she advises against women stepping down from executive roles in order to become non-executive directors.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF COMPANY DIRECTORS, STANDARD AND POOR’S ASX 100 INDEX, PERPETUAL LIMITED – ASX PPT, SPOTLESS GROUP HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX SPO, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, BANK OF MELBOURNE LIMITED, NESTLE AUSTRALIA LIMITED, KKR AND COMPANY LP, SINCLAIR KNIGHT MERZ PTY LTD, McALEESE LIMITED – ASX MCS, PREMIER INVESTMENTS LIMITED – ASX PMV, BRADKEN LIMITED – ASX BKN, DOWNER EDI LIMITED – ASX DOW, PACIFIC BRANDS LIMITED – ASX PBG, ALE PROPERTY GROUP – ASX LEP, CARDNO LIMITED – ASX CDD, ANSELL LIMITED – ASX ANN, SEEK LIMITED – ASX SEK, HARVEY NORMAN HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX HVN, MYER HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX MYR, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP LIMITED – ASX FMG, CROWN RESORTS LIMITED – ASX CWN

Target super literacy, says Deloitte

Original article by Sally Rose
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 4-Dec-15

Russell Mason of Deloitte notes that some trustees of superannuation funds voluntarily undertake a course for financial product advisers, but he argues that it should be compulsory for all of them. The issue of governance standards in the sector is again under scrutiny after cross-bench senators rejected the Australian Government’s proposal for one-third of all super funds’ directors be independent. Former Reserve Bank governor Bernie Fraser will review governance standards in the industry.

CORPORATES
DELOITTE TOUCHE TOHMATSU LIMITED, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, INDUSTRY SUPER AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF SUPERANNUATION TRUSTEES, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF COMPANY DIRECTORS, THE ASSOCIATION OF SUPERANNUATION FUNDS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, FINANCIAL SERVICES COUNCIL

Retiring CIO: new board rules will be good for super funds

Original article by Sally Rose
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 21-Sep-15

Sunsuper will appoint Michael Traill and Andrew Fraser as independent directors. However, CEO Scott Hartley opposes the Australian Government’s proposal to require one-third of super fund’s boards – including the chairman – to be independent. In contrast, outgoing chief investment officer David Hartley favours the push for greater independence of directors. He notes that industry super funds with equal representation by employers and employees have tended deliver good returns.

CORPORATES
SUNSUPER PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, SOCIAL VENTURES AUSTRALIA LIMITED, QUEENSLAND. TREASURY, THE ASSOCIATION OF SUPERANNUATION FUNDS OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, FINANCIAL SERVICES COUNCIL, AUSTRALIAN CONSUMERS’ ASSOCIATION, QSUPER LIMITED, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIANSUPER PTY LTD, KPMG AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, INDUSTRY SUPER AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF SUPERANNUATION TRUSTEES, AUSTRALIAN WORKERS’ UNION-FEDERATION OF INDUSTRIAL, MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING EMPLOYEES, TELSTRA SUPERANNUATION SCHEME

Murray in the business of making a difference

Original article by Carrie LaFrenz
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 18 : 29-Jun-15

Former Lion Nathan CEO Rob Murray has a track record of turning around struggling companies. He did so at Lion, as well as Spillers Petfoods and Nestle Foods in the UK. Murray is now on the boards of three Australian-listed companies whose outlooks are uncertain. He is a non-executive director of Southern Cross Media Group and chairs both Metcash and Dick Smith Holdings. Murray says Metcash’s price-matching strategy must focus on key grocery products, and has ruled out the sale of its Mitre 10 hardware business.

CORPORATES
METCASH LIMITED – ASX MTS, SOUTHERN CROSS MEDIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX SXL, DICK SMITH HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX DSH, LION PTY LTD, SPILLERS PETFOODS, NESTLE SA, IGA, MITRE 10 LIMITED, COLES SUPERMARKETS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, WOOLWORTHS LIMITED – ASX WOW, ALDI STORES SUPERMARKETS PTY LTD, LIDL GMBH & CO KG, BUNNINGS GROUP LIMITED, MASTERS HOME IMPROVEMENT AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX TEN, SUPER RETAIL GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUL, LINFOX PTY LTD, BESTEST, CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY