This week we highlight a report by BDO’s Center for Corporate Governance and Financial Reporting on a variety of topics that corporate management and boards of directors should be prepared to address in connection with their 2018 annual meetings. The main issues include the impact of efforts by the current administration regarding taxes and deregulation, as well as corporate accountability and compliance concerns.
Akin Gump has issued an alert detailing the protections for whistleblowers for securities violations in Dodd-Frank that expand only to employees who report violations to the SEC. Whistleblowers that report internally are still protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, provided that the employee files a complaint with the Department of Labor.
Click here to read the full alert.
This week, we highlight a report by EY Center for Board Matters on the top five priorities for companies in 2018 based on outreach conversations with institutional investors. Investors offer that their top five priorities this year are:
- Board composition, with a particular focus on enhanced diversity
- Board-level expertise that is more aligned with business goals
- Increased attention to climate risk and the environment
- Enhanced attention to talent and human capital management
- Compensation that is more aligned with performance and strategy
Click here to view the full report.
Akin Gump’s Policy team shares its 2018 political law update, which details changes in state and federal lobbying, gift and campaign finance laws. Click here to see how you or your company might be affected.
Akin Gump has issued an alert on administration and congressional activity since President Trump’s inauguration. The report highlights key regulatory and legislative developments across a range of policy areas. This document also previews the policy agenda for the coming year and concludes with a political update and analysis of the 2018 congressional elections.
Akin Gump has issued an alert assessing the New York Paid Family Leave Law, which went into effect on January 1, 2018. We discuss employers’ obligations to their employees, what modifications need to be made to company policies and how this will affect all New Yorkers.
Click here to read the full alert.
Managing five generations of employees
In the coming years, employers will face the unprecedented challenge of having five generations of employees in the workplace. This encompasses those from the Silent Generation, born before 1945, through Generation Z, those born after 2000 and about to enter the workforce, and the Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers and oft-maligned Millennials in between. Having multiple generations in the workplace can result in tensions based on different priorities, workplace expectations and communication styles. Companies and their boards can help address these tensions by better understanding employee expectations, encouraging cross-generation mentorship, and setting an example of generational diversity with respect to company leadership and members of the board.
Corporate social responsibility
Boards of directors should leverage CSR initiatives to mitigate legal, reputational, operational and financial risks, and improve their bottom line. While some may perceive CSR efforts primarily as public relations efforts, community engagement or corporate philanthropy, more and more companies have developed systemic and effective programs to successfully meet key environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards as an integral part of their comprehensive risk assessment and mitigation programs. In fact, Boston Consulting Group analyzed some of the world’s largest consumer goods, biopharmaceuticals, oil and gas, retail and business banking, and technology companies, and concluded that those with better ESG standards were more profitable and traded at a higher value than their competitors. According to a 2017 study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, companies with strong CSR practices are less likely to suffer large price declines, and they tend to have better three- to five- year returns on equity, as well as a greater chance of long-term success. These trends have not gone unnoticed. Investors are increasingly interested in the CSR performance of target firms as a way to identify economic performance potential and flag potential risks. As such, directors should now consider CSR performance critical to the bottom line.