RI ESG Briefing, Nov. 6: SEC to hold roundtable on proxy voting and institutional investors

The round-up of environmental, social and governance news

Environmental

UK renewable energy generator Infinis Energy – which is backed by Guy Hands’ Terra Firma – expects to be valued at up to £930m when it launches on the London market on November 15. Infinis operates 147 plants and the order books for institutional investors are set to close on November 14. The offering is being run by Barclays, Deutsche Bank and RBC Capital Markets. Link

Japan’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) project has gone online in Kagoshima, on the southern island of Kyushu, according to reports. The 70MW facility is run by a consortium called the Kagoshima Mega Solar Power Corporation – a joint venture of Kyocera, KDDI Corporation, Bank of Kyoto, Kagoshima Bank, Takenaka Corporation and IHI Corporation. Project finance was overseen by Mizuho Bank.

The Climate Markets and Investment Association (CMIA) has called for “much greater ambition and sense of urgency” at the forthcoming climate change talks in Warsaw, Poland. The trade body represents more than 60 companies that finance, invest in and provide enabling support to activities that reduce carbon emissions.

Social

Sustainable banking group Triodos is working on a new £5m charity bond to help build a new 75-bed care home for dementia sufferers on the Isle of Sheppey in southern England. It is working with social care provider Avante Partnership on the five-year issue that will help support 40 full time jobs, 30 part time jobs and opportunities for six volunteers.

The Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA), the Washington-based trade body, has launched an Impact Investing Council. It will provide a professional forum for investment managers implementing private equity strategies with impact targets as well as an information resource for institutional investors pursuing market-based solutions to impact investing. The Council is chaired by Patricia Dinneen, Managing Director at Siguler Guff & Co.

Bangladesh: the parliament has approved a law to bring microfinance pioneer Grameen Bank – founded by Nobel laureate Mohammad Yunus – under central bank authority. Yunus was removed as Grameen’s head in 2011. Campaign group the Center for Financial Inclusion said: “Such a politically motivated takeover is inexcusable.”h6. Governance

The Securities and Exchange Commission says it will host a public roundtable on December 5 to discuss the use of proxy advisory firm services by institutional investors and investment advisers. It will be held at the SEC’s Washington headquarters and will be open to the public and webcast live on the SEC’s website. Further information about the agenda and participants “will be issued shortly”.

Legal & General Investment Management, the UK-based asset management giant with £433bn in assets, says the role of corporate governance now has a “wider remit than ever”. LGIM’s Director of Corporate Governance Sacha Sadan said: “We think that corporate governance should act as a voice of sanity in an increasingly complex business environment.” He said the firm works with, not against companies. A key focus for LGIM, he added, was linking directors’ pay with performance.

The 21 member companies of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) have committed to preparing their sustainability reports in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative’s new “G4” guidelines. The requirement to report against G4 will come into effect for members’ sustainability reports for the year ending 31 December 2015.

Hermes Fund Managers says its new Portfolio ESG Monitor, developed by its quantitative equities team, aims to provide a portfolio view of sustainability risk. It can be used with its ESG Dashboard of company-specific sustainability risks.

Germany’s financial watchdog BAFIN has been critical of banks’ attempts to apply rules on executive bonuses that were supposed to curb the incentives that helped lead to the financial crisis, according to a Reuters report citing BAFIN’s Banking Supervisor Matthias Jaeger. It quoted him saying there were “severe deficits” in efforts to implement the rules – although he acknowledged that pay structures at the banks had become more sensible and sustainable.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has announced that the state has come to a $28m agreement with asset servicing giant the Bank of New York Mellon over charges that it overbilled foreign exchange transactions, according to Mandate Wire. According to the settlement, the parties have agreed to “avoid the cost, expense, and uncertainty inherent in litigation.”