ISS released its 2019 ISS Benchmark Policy Survey yesterday. (Please click here.) According to its announcement, ISS views the Survey as “a key component of ISS’ annual benchmark policy development process, looking at potential policy changes globally for 2020 and beyond.”
While ISS encourages “[i]nstitutional investors, companies, corporate directors, and all other market constituents . . . to respond to the survey,” our experience over the years has been that ISS is principally focused on the responses of its institutional shareholder clients. ISS typically uses these responses in developing any changes to its proxy voting guidelines for the following proxy season.
The Survey this year does not refer to any particular Maryland law concerns. It does, however, contain other items, including board gender diversity, overboarding, combined chairman/CEO, multi-class capital structures, Economic Value Added metrics and director accountability regarding climate change risk, some or all of which may be relevant to your company. Note that other items in the Survey do not apply to U.S. companies. ISS generally covers all U.S. companies listed in the Russell 3000 index. For other regions, ISS covers companies included in major regional or national indices.
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As always, our colleagues and we are available at any time to discuss these or other matters.