Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Bishop Jo Seoka says corporate governance is too important to be left to the big professionals. He’s right. The recent MTN teleconference that was held to discuss shareholders’ concerns about the group’s remuneration was just the latest evidence of how poorly we’re served by the institutions that are assumed to act on our behalf. Investec’s public rebuke of an analyst’s suggestion that the CEO of long-underperforming Tongaat Hulett should retire reminded us of where institutional investors’ priority lies: with corporate executives who decide what business goes to what institution. Only 65% of shareholders bothered to even send in their votes to Sanlam’s AGM last week: 28% of those who did voted against the remuneration report, which means only 45% of Sanlam’s shareholders approved the report. Given that level of apathy, there’s little prospect of involvement in their upcoming teleconference. As they chase the share price hikes that will help justify their enormous salaries, institut...

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