First stewardship code for institutional investors is introduced in Denmark

Set of proposals from Committee on Corporate Governance

Denmark’s first Stewardship Code, commissioned by the Danish government from a committee of experts in January 2016, will be applicable this year — although industry sources told RI that only by late 2017 the names of institutional investors applying its principles will be released.

A year ago the Government tasked the Committee on Corporate Governance with drafting a set of recommendations aimed at promoting more active and committed stewardship by institutional investors.

The Committee said it drew inspiration from the UK’s Stewardship Code and expanded its composition to nine members (excluding the chair and deputy chair) in order to bring on board professionals with investment experience.

A representative of the Danish Business Authority told RI that the latest member to join the Committee has been Eric Christian Pedersen, CEO at Nordea Invest and chairman of the Danish Investment Fund Association.

The representative added that Pedersen replaced Carsten Stendevad, the former CEO of labour market fund ATP.

In December 2016 ATP rejoined the UN-supported PRI with three fellow Danish pension funds: PFA, PKA and Sampension, as first reported by RI.Among the Committee members is also Laila Mortensen, CEO of Industriens Pension, one of the remaining seven Danish pension funds that left the PRI in 2013 and haven’t rejoined since then.

Other members are current ATP CEO Christian Hyldahl, Bjorn Sibbern, Nasdaq’s Executive Vice President of Global Information Services; and Jørn Peter Jensen, former Carlsberg Group Deputy CEO and CFO.

According to industry sources, the names of the signatories to the Code (or institutional investors who could decide to comply with its principles and report it to the Committee) are not expected to be known at least until the end of the year.

Rikke Schiøtt Petersen, member of the Committee and Partner at law firm Gorrissen Federspiel, told RI that the date could be late 2017 or early 2018.

Denmark’s new code, based on eight stewardship principles, is self-defined as “soft-law” thus to be applied on a comply-or-explain basis, with a focus on “long-term return for investors” and in line with “leading foreign” ones, including the UK Stewardship Code. Link

The Committee’s role will now focus on updating the Code when necessary and, in particular, monitoring any development that could come up from the proposed revision of the EU Shareholder Rights Directive.