Milan Annual Conference Agenda

*Please note this programme is subject to change

Monday 25 June
Day 1: Committee, Member Meetings and the Welcome Reception All conference attendees (including non-ICGN Members) are welcome to attend the following meetings:
09:00 - 10:00
  • Board Governance 
  • Shareholder Rights 
10:15 – 11:15
Committee Meetings
  • Disclosure and Transparency
  • Shareholder Responsibilities 
11:30 – 12:30
Committee Meeting
  • Ethics and Systemic Risk 
12:30 – 13:30
Networking Lunch
13:30 – 14:30
Committee Meetings
  • ICGN Nomination
  • Japan Initiatives Update
14:30 - 15:30
ICGN Asset Owners Forum
15:30 – 15:50
16:00 – 18:00
ICGN Annual General Meeting
18:30 – 20:00
Welcome Reception
Tuesday 26 June
Day 2: ICGN Annual Conference
07:45 – 09:00
Breakfast Session Hosted BNP Paribas Asset Management
08:30 – 09:00
Press Conference
10:30 – 11:30
Plenary 1: Stewardship codes: putting principles into practice

Much progress has been made in the development of Stewardship Codes around the world, but challenges remain in making successful stewardship a reality. Is stewardship resourced as a profession within investment firms? What should be the status of stewardship professionals relative to fund managers? How should remuneration be structured? How can stewardship teams engage with their retail clients to bring individual “citizens” into the stewardship dialogue? Is there scope for investor associations to better coordinate with one another to strengthen the investor voice in dialogue with policy makers?

11:30 – 12:00
12:00 – 13:00
Plenary 2: Managing conflict and dissenting voices on boards

Effective boards require a balance of cohesion and creative tension. We are witnessing trends in many global markets to change board composition to add new perspectives and greater diversity. This includes greater independent representation on the boards of controlled companies, more gender diversity and investor-nominated directors (for example, Italy’s vota di lista system). While these initiatives may encourage fresh perspectives, this also creates the scope for greater board dissent. When is dissent healthy, and when might it be counterproductive? Does dissent help or hinder a board’s ability to assure a good corporate culture? How should boards best integrate directors nominated by investors?  What are the potential pitfalls?

13:00 – 14:15
Networking lunch
14:15 – 15:15
Plenary 3: Stock exchanges and shareholder rights: a race to the top, not the bottom

Stock exchanges are faced with an increasingly competitive global market when seeking to attract new foreign listings - particularly at a time when many companies are choosing to delist or remain private to avoid the obligations of public issuance. Some exchanges are encouraging the use of dual class shares which is seen by many companies as an attractive way to avoid undue influence by investors. But many investors are concerned that minority rights are threatened. How should exchanges balance tensions of this nature? Are the pressures on exchanges to attract new listings compromising investor protections and standards of governance? 

15:30 – 16:45
Hosted Sessions
Session 1: Talent strategy increasingly drives value: Key issues for investors and boards on the future of work Hosted by EY

Talent has become a primary driver of organizational value, especially in a world of digital disruption.  From building a culture where innovation thrives, to defining the company’s purpose, to investing in developing workers to meet the demands of evolving business models, a successful talent strategy is critical to competitive strength and long-term value creation.  Global C-suite executives increasingly rank talent issues among their top challenges, but in a recent survey only 14 percent of CEOs said they have the leadership talent to execute their strategy.  Many boards are already devoting more attention to oversight of human capital strategies and risk mitigation.  For investors, understanding how boards are tackling the talent agenda means considering how companies are investing in “next-gen” leadership development and employee engagement, how companies are upholding their diversity goals, and how they’re ensuring that the company’s actions correspond with its stated culture and values. 

Session 2 Hosted by TBC
Session 3 Hosted by CAQ
16:45 – 17:15
17:15 – 18:15
Plenary 4: Governance and technology: what are the opportunities and risks?

The risks and complexities posed by cyber risk and data protection can have direct financial, operational and reputational impacts on corporate success. How should company boards and institutional investors best address these emerging technology factors? Should board composition evolve to ensure there is sufficient technical understanding and capability among board members themselves – or are boards better advised to seek external expertise to provide guidance on technological issues? What assurances to investors need that boards are on top of these risks and opportunities?

18:30 – 19:00
Pre-Dinner Networking Drinks Hosted by MSCI ESG Research
19:00 – 21:00
Conference Dinner Co-hosted by Eurizon Capital & Egon Zehnder
Wednesday 27 June
Day 3: ICGN Annual Conference
07:45 – 09:00
Session 1: Does good governance pay?

Increasingly, there is evidence for it. Especially younger employees want to work for a well run company with a purpose, as evidenced by many employee surveys. Investors want to invest in such companies, as evidenced by many shareholder engagements. Finally, customers and consumers want to buy products from companies they trust, as evidenced by many consumer surveys. All of this should lead to the creation of sustainable shareholder value. Accordingly, Nestlé’s shareholders adopted a purpose clause in its articles of association committing the company to aim for sustainable value creation. 

09:10 – 09:20
10:00 – 11:00
Plenary 5: Proxy advisor best practice and investor data/research needs

The Best Practice Principles for Governance Research Providers (BBP) were established in 2013 in Europe as a voluntary framework for proxy advisors and has recently been reviewed. At the same time the potential for extremely strict  proxy advisor legislation in the US, runs the risk of seriously impacting the practical ability of proxy advisors to serve investors. Do proxy agencies and other data providers meet the research needs of investors? Are investors allowing proxy agencies to exercise too much power in the voting process? Should they be defending proxy agencies more forcefully to policy makers? Are the BPP fit for purpose or is there scope for further improvement? What are the implications of US legislation of proxy agencies?

11:00 – 11:30
11:45 – 12:45
Hosted Sessions
Session 1 Hosted by Generali Investments
Session 2 Hosted by Pomerantz
Session 3 Hosted by ISS
13:00 – 13:45
Networking Lunch
14:00 – 15:00
Plenary 6: Governance, stewardship and the private company

Corporate governance is relevant for both public and private companies, and private equity has become an important asset class within many institutional investment portfolios. However, relatively little attention has been focused on the role of institutional investors in private companies – even though the decline in public listings in many markets has sparked renewed interest in governance standards of private companies. How does private company governance differ from public company governance? How is investor stewardship affected by companies without market listings? What should institutional investors in private equity funds expect from General Partners in terms of governance protections?

15:15 – 16:15
Company and Investor Engagement Sessions
16:15 – 16:45
16:45 – 17:45
Plenary 7: Towards the meaningful integration of the Sustainable Development Goals in business and investment

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) add a new dimension to the use of ESG and other non-financial issues, and bring a systemic perspective to both companies and investors. Is meaningful ESG integration a reality in institutional investment firms or a marketing enigma? Are companies providing the right information to allow investors to better understand ESG risks? What incremental data needs are required for investors to address the SDGs? Are the standard setters and data providers of ESG data sufficiently coordinated or is there overlap and confusion? Should some ESG disclosures by companies be required by legislation? If so, which?  

17:45 – 18:00
2019 Announcement: ICGN Annual Conference, hosted by the Japan Exchange Group / Tokyo Stock Exchange
Thursday 28 June 2018
Day 4: Academic & Italian Day In partnership with LUISS University
09:15 - 10:00
11:50 - 12:10
Refreshments Sponsored by M&G
13:30 - 14:30
Lunch Sponsored by Georgeson
15:50 - 16:10
Refreshments Sponsored by M&G
17:30 - 17:40
Conclusion and end of conference