Category Archives: Views

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Social bonds: an impact opportunity?

Social impact bonds, an emerging tool in the world of impact investing, are gaining a foothold in Canada. Companies seeking financial return and social impact should pay attention
By Robert Olsen
With David Chemla
July 29th, 2015

Impact investing is an investment approach, as defined by the Global Impact Investing Network, that intentionally seeks to create both financial return and positive social impact and actively measures the achievement of both. The expected financial return can range from … Continue reading

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All quiet? Keep it that way

Say-on-pay support was up this year and proxy advisers had fewer beefs. Rather than be complacent, boards should build on this goodwill by stepping up shareholder communications and engagement
By Ken Hugessen
With Michelle Tan
July 29th, 2015

Anyone reading the headlines during the 2015 proxy season might think recent efforts to reform executive compensation in Canada have suddenly fallen off the rails with this year’s multiple say-on-pay failures. But judging by shareholder votes, we see that the … Continue reading

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Integrity? The buck stops at the board

Companies are quick to blame “rogue employees” when they experience an ethical failure within. But employees merely reflect a company’s true and actual culture, internal controls and practices—all of which point right back to the board
By Richard Leblanc
July 28th, 2015

There is not an excuse I have not heard for ethical failure. But when I investigate a company after allegations of fraud, corruption or workplace wrongdoing, I almost always find a complacent, captured or entrenched board that did not take … Continue reading

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Same goals, opposing timelines

Mitigation and response strategies are inseparable partners in enterprise risk management. But their design and execution are in no way alike
By John Caldwell
July 28th, 2015

Enterprises face no shortages of risks everyday, be they external or self-inflicted. An effective enterprise risk management system has both mitigation and response strategies designed to lesson the impact of any material adverse exposure. This column provides a closer look … Continue reading

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This should only hurt a bit

There’s no longer any argument about carbon pricing: it’s here. The challenge for companies now is to be active stakeholders in the transition process while adapting their own operations to keep pace
By Sandra Odendahl
July 28th, 2015

For too long, the earth’s atmosphere has been used a free waste disposal site by, well, everybody. The types of waste and their impacts are myriad, but as we all know there is deep concern about the emission of greenhouse … Continue reading

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Why there are virtually no virtual AGMs

Some U.S. companies now have online-only annual meetings, and our regulatory framework allows for it, but shareholder opposition is vocal
By Chaya Cooperberg
July 28th, 2015

When Hewlett-Packard held its first virtual-only annual meeting in March, it did so to give more shareholders the opportunity to participate. What it got in return was vocal shareholder opposition. Accessed online via video webcast, the meeting was technically well … Continue reading

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Total return not the total view

Total Shareholder Return has a nice ring to it. And much to recommend it as a tool to guide CEO pay decisions. But boards that use it exclusively aren’t getting a complete picture
By Ken Hugessen
With Linda McNally
May 16th, 2015

In recent years, Total Shareholder Return (TSR) has become the most frequently used metric in long-term incentive plans for assessing company relative performance and guiding the outcome of pay decisions. It is also used by proxy advisory firms to evaluate … Continue reading

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Tech risk: oversight and tactics

Cybersecurity has emerged as a leading corporate threat. If it isn’t front and centre in the minds of directors, here’s how to put it there
By Richard Leblanc
May 16th, 2015

In the area of technology, are boards fulfilling their duty of care in overseeing management and protecting shareholders’ investment? Indicators are that many boards and directors may not be. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are suing companies and their boards over technology failure. … Continue reading

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The rolling impact of low oil prices

Lately, it’s been one body blow after another for Canada’s entire energy sector. Here we take a closer look at how the impacts and repercussions will likely be felt for the rest of 2015
By Robert Olsen
With Andrew Luetchford and David Sparrow
May 16th, 2015

Alberta is getting quieter by the day. Compared to a year ago there are about 40% fewer heavy trucks on the province’s roads and six months from now, there will be even less. If this low oil-price environment continues, it … Continue reading

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Tailored risk education fits boards to a T

The best way to educate directors and executive management on risk and risk oversight frameworks? Engage them in a day of training in a program customized for their company and their needs
By John Caldwell
May 16th, 2015

Elsewhere in this issue, there is a comprehensive feature on director development and board education. I’ve elected to use that story as a jumping off point for this column. Specifically, I want to elaborate on one highly effective area of … Continue reading

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Ready for your screen test?

Sustainability—social, ethical and environmental—is becoming financially material. Companies that aren’t making it a key part of their investor relations strategy could be risking more than they know
By Chaya Cooperberg
May 16th, 2015

“How many women are on the senior executive team?” the portfolio manager asked. It was his third question at a one-on-one slot with our company during a sprawling, multi-sector investor conference in February. The meeting came toward the end of … Continue reading

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Capital alternatives for mining

The industry slump that was remains the slump that is. Traditional funders are sidelined and the public markets stone cold. Yet if mining companies are willing to expand their options, there’s still some alternative financing out there
By Robert Olsen
With Andrew Luetchford and Jeremy South
February 28th, 2015

Over the past couple of years, many have talked about the green shoots of recovery and hopes of better times around the corner for the mining industry. Unfortunately, the deep freeze continues, and that means continuing discontent for those looking … Continue reading

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Make long-term value your guide

When executive operational performance and market returns are out of sync, what’s a compensation committee to do? Check and recheck the pay-for-performance rationale and share it with shareholders
By Ken Hugessen
With Lisa Oldridge
February 27th, 2015

As with all commodity players, mining companies are largely price takers, subject to price swings reflecting global macroeconomics, geopolitical forces and changes in underlying supply and demand over which management have no control. Moreover, absolute share-price performance among the miners … Continue reading

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Exactly what gets results?

Corporate social responsibility has become a key part of the way larger companies—and miners of all sizes—do business. But measuring CSR’s impact is just starting to catch up
By Sandra Odendahl
February 27th, 2015

Surf any corporate website and you will see plenty of information about employees volunteering on company time, dollars given to charity and business activities to reduce energy or paper use. What you don’t see as often is an indication of … Continue reading

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Electricity restructuring spells opportunity

Shifting demands, new technologies, cost constraints and a fragmented distribution system have Ontario’s electricity sector in line for a major restructuring, which promises to be a transformational opportunity for investors
By Robert Olsen
With Remo Bucci
December 18th, 2014

As jurisdictions restructure their energy and power sectors due to a rapidly changing market, they offer windows of transformational opportunity for major investors. Such an opening is now poised to emerge in Ontario’s electricity sector, which faces a significant restructuring … Continue reading

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