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RI Briefing, July 30: Foxconn, New York Common, Shanghai SE, Legg Mason

A group of international institutional investors have made a statement about the highly publicised spate of suicides at Chinese electronics supplier Foxconn Technology. The group says there is “little evidence of dramatically improved conditions” at the firm and its peers – and calls on the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition to be more assertive and proactive in ensuring worker rights.

The $132.6bn New York State Common Retirement Fund has filed two new major securities fraud lawsuits, against Merrill Lynch and Bank of America, claiming they violated federal securities laws. Link

The Shanghai Stock Exchange and China Securities Index Co. have re-evaluated the Shanghai bourse’s corporate governance indices, following the election of a new Expert Consultative Committee. The new 11-member Committee, chaired by Hu Ruyin, consists of domestic experts and corporate governance research experts. Link

An attempt by Legal & General to get Legg Mason to split the roles of chairman and chief executive was defeated by shareholders at the asset manager’s annual meeting on July 27. L&G had argued the separation is “a basic element of sound corporate governance”. Legg Mason recently joined the Ceres network of investors and environmental groups. Filing

The Malaysian stock exchange, Bursa Malaysia, held a week-long conference on corporate governance in conjunction with the Malaysia Securities Commission from June 28-July 2. It featured investors, academics and consultants, government officials and corporate leaders.The Louisiana Municipal Employees Retirement System has been thwarted in its attempts to win damages against Credit Suisse. A court ruling said US buyers of a foreign stock on a foreign exchange can’t sue for securities fraud under US law. The fund had bought the Swiss bank’s shares on the Swiss Stock Exchange. Link

Corporate governance researcher The Corporate Library has unveiled a free guide to implementing the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. Responsible Investment for Beginners: A Guide to Implementation and Reporting is available here

Canadian pension funds have vowed to continue their opposition to a controversial plan by auto parts firm Magna International to pay founder Frank Stronach about C$1bn (€740m) to relinquish control of the company, although shareholders have approved the deal. The next step is a hearing at the Ontario Superior Court in mid-august.

Consulting firm Deloitte has found that major US corporations are interested and involved in sustainability, with most seeing “a clear alignment” between sustainability and business strategy. Deloitte interviewed sustainability leaders of 48 large US firms. Link.

Sustainable Asset Management, the Swiss-based asset manager that is part of Robeco, has disclosed a 5.12% stake in Chinese environmental engineering firm RINO International Corp. RINO provides environmental protection equipment for the iron and steel industry. Filing