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Italian stock exchange plans stewardship code for asset owners and managers

Borsa Italiana initiative comes amid flurry of exchange developments

The Borsa Italiana, the Italian stock exchange, is planning to draft a code of conduct for asset managers, asset owners and their advisors explicitly based on existing stewardship codes.

It comes amid a bout of responsible investment news from exchanges in South Africa, India and Malaysia.

The Milan-based exchange – part of the London Stock Exchange Group since 2007 – is drawing inspiration from existing guidance from the UK’s Stewardship Code and a set of principles launched by the European Fund and the Asset Management Association (EFAMA) in 2011.
The exchange plans a “preliminary assessment” in 2013 of a “draft of a set of principles of conduct addressed to asset managers, asset owners and their advisors in respect of transparency of voting policies, monitoring of investee companies and management of conflicts of interest (so called ‘stewardship code’)”.
The plans were approved at a meeting of the Italian Corporate Governance Committee in Milan yesterday.

It follows meetings between exchange representatives and Baroness Sarah Hogg of the UK’s Financial Reporting Council, which oversees the Stewardship Code, and Sir David Walker, the author of a report on banking governance, during a trip to London in October.In other exchange news, India’s MCX Stock Exchange has become a signatory to the United Nations’ Sustainable Stock Exchange initiative, joining fellow bourses NASDAQ OMX, Brazil’s BM&FBOVESPA and the exchanges in Johannesburg, Bombay (Mumbai), Egypt and Istanbul. MCX is also a founder member of India’s new Responsible Investment Research Association (RIRA).
And elsewhere, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has announced that more than 70% of listed companies fulfil the base requirements to become a constituent of its 2012 Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index.
The research was carried out on behalf of the JSE by investment research provider EIRIS and its partner the Centre for Corporate Governance in Africa at the University of Stellenbosch Business School. The JSE is supported by South Africa’s Government Employees’ Pension Fund in the initiative.
And in further news, Malaysia’s Bursa Malaysia has amended its listing requirements to “strengthen and enhance corporate governance” practices. The amendments are in line with the recommendations made under the Corporate Governance Blueprint 2011 as well as the Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance 2012.