Derek Abdinor

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Originate your strategy from risk

The first duty of an organisation is to … anyone? anyone? If you answered “to secure sustainable competitive advantage” or “create shareholder value” I would argue that you’ve identified the second duty. Your answers would have won first prize between 2002 and 2007, but they have been shifted due to lessons currently being learnt about ignoring risk. Drucker says “The […]

I love a good UK election, me

I have no stake in the outcome but an amateur’s interest in a developed country which is steeped in ancient history and recent identity politics. Class, media, wealth, socialism, capitalism, liberalism and many ideas of the Enlightenment get an airing here, without the supernatural and supranatural factors of religion (Continental Europe) or race (South Africa). Some characteristics that have appeared […]

What is a team player?

I’ve never heard of a person in a professional setting disclaim themselves as a team player. This in spite of two general views on the definition: A team player always puts the needs of the team above their own. The tactics decided on by the team will be acceptable to this viewholder even if they are not aligned. The viewholder is […]

Management by Gardening

Image via Wikipedia A folksy look at putting thoughts on one of my accidental hobbies down. You’ll make mistakes until you find out what your garden is able to be You’ll lose plants through things that are out of your control. You’ll lose even more flowers as they are more delicate. But you’ll gain through windfall and pleasant surprises, so […]

Snippets: Treat shareholders as customers, and SocGen’s outlook

From The Telegraph 19 Nov 2009: How to buy shares with perks Consumers can gain benefits ranging from thousands of pounds off the price of a new home to a 30pc discount on Eurotunnel travel just for holding shares in certain companies. From The Telegraph 19 Nov 2009: Société Générale tells clients how to prepare for ‘global collapse’ […]

Shareholder E-communication is like global warming

Electronic communication to shareholders is a philosophy as much as a practice – where possible collect email and mobile addresses of your shareholders to communicate directly, and cut down the costs associated with being a listed company, eg on the JSE. Because there is an argument for and against, there is doubt. Which means there is no consensus, so policy […]

Schedule 23 – the book(e) make up tons

In discussion the other day we were puzzled as to why the majority of companies on the JSE do not take advantage of Schedule 23 for their regulatory communications to the market and shareholders. For issuing companies to embark on an electronic consent program, the following benefits accrue to company and shareholder: Email addresses of shareholders for direct communication Mobile […]

Microsoft lets shareholders advise on director pay

I thought I’d capture all the links as they appear in Google news – to represent the news as and where it comes out. Microsoft shareholders to get ‘say on pay‘ TechFlash (blog) – Todd Bishop – ‎11 hours ago‎ Microsoft’s board says it will hold a non-binding, advisory shareholder vote on the salaries of the company’s executives every three years, starting with … Microsoft […]

Management by stakeholders

From an article in the Economist: One reason why Germany’s biggest firms have not cut many jobs is its cherished model of stakeholder capitalism, which took root after the second world war and contributed to its rapid economic growth until the 1980s. Under this model, workers’ representatives fill half the seats on firms’ supervisory boards. A separate management board is […]

US companies opening up remuneration debates

Via Compliance Week: Aircraft manufacturers, Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT) , is conducting an online survey of stockholders on its executive compensation (remuneration) practices. Results will be reviewed by the Management Development and Compensation Committee of Lockhee’s Board of Directors. Prudential (NYSE: PRU) has a section on their website where one can email the independent directors (an email address going […]

Mandatory XBRL filing for tax in the UK? Absurd!

From the Institute of Charted Accountants (Scotland): ICAS objects to the additional burdens, costs and risks of this during the current recession – when many businesses are struggling to survive and should be concentrating their management expertise on the much more pressing and important task of maintaining productivity and employment. Donald Drysdale, Assistant Director at ICAS and a Chartered IT […]

Shareholder meetings have become a circus | BNET

From the ever-current BNet, comes this article from Richard Northedge (July 20th, 2009 @ 2:31 am). The RSPCA ordered the removal of the dozen lemmings brought to British Airways’ shareholders’ meeting but they had done their job of illustrating the fate the trade unions think their members face. Boards have become used to meetings being hijacked for publicity stunts, but the practice will […]

Insider trading and short-selling for the win

While insider trading and short-selling are largely strictly regulated and, on the face of it, discouraged, in most markets, there is an academic argument in favour of the two practices. From The Telegraph: At first blush the argument in favour of insider dealing was seductive. An insider who bought or sold shares had intimate knowledge of the company’s financial performance. […]

200+ indian companies have irregular financials | Myiris

Via Twitter. Link to full article Essentially, IRIS did a survey on the financials of 1500 Indian public companies. Discrepancies appeared in over 200 of them; figure differences as opposed to accounting interpretations. One of the outcomes of the survey was to highlight the effect that XBRL will have in bringing such problems to light, and ultimately, to bring them […]

The Return of the King Code: out for review

Two codes of corporate governance have ruled informed public companies in the last 15 years in South Africa – the King codes. The third code was launched in Johannesburg last week for public review – you can view it here. Some interesting points: shareholders ought to approve remuneration, and an annual remuneration report needs to be published the audit committee […]

New! Free! XBRL tool for accountants

Ok, the heading is misleading and would constitute baiting if I cared enough. Found via Dianne Mueller and sure to become an internet meme. Explaining an accounting process need not be dry when you see these cartoons (click on the image). Sure to give the Plain English versions a run for their money. From JICPA, the Japanese Institute of Certified Public Accountants. […]

The future of the non-executive board member

The King II Code of Corporate Governance, which  recommends good practices for listed entities in South Africa, has always been in favour of companies having non-executive representation on the boards as well as the committees of listed companies. The reasoning behind these recommendation went as follows: non-executives are relatively impartial they bring different expertise and strategic input, being seperate from […]

The SEC XBRL ruling and IFRS

Last week the SEC formally published the XBRL mandate. While they released it in mid-December 2008, this was total ratification. Sound weird? Think of it just as  Barack Obama re-taking the oath of office after some minor fluffs Of more interest to me is the ruling for non-US companies listed on the US markets. They file to the SEC in […]

Like ships parsing in the night

The maritime Automatic Identification System (AIS) means that every seagoing vessel over 300 tons is required to transmit certain data every few seconds, including: Navigation status, e.g. ‘at anchor’ or ‘underway’ Ground speed, from 0 to 102 knots in steps of 0.1 knots Rate of turn, 0 to 720 degrees per minute Position (GPS latitude and longitude) Heading and Course […]

SEC announces XBRL mandate: all systems go!

It’s here: the mandate for XBRL to become an official filing process, alongside EDGAR, for listed companies in the US.  The SEC announced this in a long-awaited roundtable today, 17 December 2008.  The IDEA system was launched today too. This has followed on the completion of the US GAAP taxonomies.    Immediate impact:  Companies that are listed in the US […]

Governance issues are reflected in proxy guidelines

Risk Metrics Group provides risk management services and information in many countries around the world. They are also a client of my organisation, in a convulted and irrelevant way. They recently released their policies around proxy voting: meaning how they will vote or advise voters in any given situation. Not only does it provide rational guidelines as well as promote […]

AGM format and materials deemed inequitable

Sasol’s empowerment transaction earlier this year was worth over R25 billion and added about 200 000 new shareholders to the Sasol share register. The impact at the AGM was apparently marked, with new members wanting materials in different languages and different formats.  From Fin24:  “Why are the presentations only in English, when you have many black shareholders represented in the […]