International Corporate Governance Network reviews funding structure

Governance body seeks more stable financial footing

The International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN), the body whose members have a combined $26trn in assets, is to vote on a change to its membership fee structure to help it offset “highly volatile” income from conferences.

Currently, investors pay an annual subscription based on a sliding scale according to their assets under management and they receive a number of memberships accordingly.

But ‘for-profit’ members pay a standardised membership fee, not based on a sliding scale and at the same level as the lowest investor band.

In a motion to be voted on later this month, the ICGN notes how its work programme is primarily reliant on income generated from membership fees (43%) and conferences (53%).

“Conference income can be highly volatile and we are keen to position the ICGN on a more stable financial footing by increasing the overall level of contribution from membership income over time,” it says.

The ICGN says: “Having researched the approach to fee levels associated with ‘for-profit’ members in similar membership organisations, including international bodies and national investor associations, we propose to put forward to the 2016 Annual General Meeting the following Ordinary Resolution:

“THAT the for-profit membership category be amended whereby membership fee levels are commensurate on a sliding scale with the relative size of the organisation.”Assuming the proposal is approved at the AGM, the ICGN will consult with its members to work out how the proposal should be implemented. The London-based body says it has consulted with ‘for-profit’ and ‘investor’ members – and that the majority of responses have been supportive of the change that will bring fees in line with similar bodies.

The issue is due to go to the vote at the ICGN’s annual meeting on June 27 in San Francisco. The AGM will be followed by the ICGN’s Annual Conference, hosted by CaIPERS and CaISTRS on the theme of ‘promoting long-term thinking and behaviour for sustainable capital markets’.

Executive Director Kerrie Waring, writing in the ICGN’s new annual review, says the body welcomed 100 new members in 2015. But she said: “We must reduce our reliance on conference revenues and enhance the contribution from membership subscriptions to ensure a more sustainable financial model.”

The review states that in 2015 it had a retained surplus, after taxation, for the financial year of £39,965 (€51,518) – with reserves rising to £487,254. Annual turnover rose to £1.1m from £986,417.

The AGM will also feature a vote to approve the ICGN’s new Global Stewardship Principles and there is also revised guidance on board diversity, securities lending and remuneration. Link