New York Event Agenda

Monday 22 October
08:30 - 09:00
Delegate registration
09:30 – 10:30
Plenary 1: A new era for investor duties and sustainability

In May, new legislative proposals were announced by the European Commission which will come into effect in 2019 around investor fiduciary duties to embrace sustainability and enhance disclosures. In the U.S., by contrast, the government has warned fiduciaries against too readily treating ESG factors as economically relevant and the tools (e.g. shareowner proposals) that investors have traditionally relied upon to advance sustainability disclosures on a company-by-company basis are under assault from the business groups and Congress. How do these diverging regulatory trends impact global investors, their policies, engagements and collaborations?

10:30 – 11:00
Networking Refreshment Break
11:00 – 12:00
Plenary 2: Board decision-making for long-term value creation

Boards must be able to describe the company’s strategy for long-term value creation and sustainable growth to shareholders. This includes how they are dealing with environmental constraints such as climate change or responding to social risks such as wealth inequality. Initiatives such as the FSB’s Taskforce on Climate Related Disclosures helps to ensure better communication on how greenhouse gas emissions are factored into governance, strategy and risk management, but how confident are boards and investors in confronting issues which may result in stranded assets, disruption to supply chains as well as economic and political instability? How are companies embracing resource efficient business strategies such as renewable energy and smart technologies?  What do these broad systemic risks mean for corporate governance regulation and practice in general?

12:10 – 13:10
Hosted Sessions
Session A: ESG integration and ESG benchmarks – Where are leading asset owners heading? Hosted by MSCI ESG Research

Please join us for a discussion of how and why the world’s largest owners of capital are including environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations in their investment policies and manager selection process.  This includes an exploration of how ESG is being integrated into actively managed portfolios as well as the use of ESG Indexes in passively managed portfolios. We will also review cutting-edge research that examines how ESG affects equity valuation, risk and performance.  

Session B: Corporate governance in action – Petrobras Securities Class Action, Yahoo Data Breach Securities Class Action and the Fiat/Chrysler Cheat Device Securities Class Action Hosted by Pomerantz

This session will review the developments of cases examining the regulatory, corporate governance and litigation issues in each case and how shareholders could exert their rights against these companies. The panel will offer perspectives on the differences/similarities between the legal possibilities available in the North America and Europe to prevent misconduct whilst improving corporate health and building long-term shareholder value

Session C: The advent of the new auditor’s report - what you need to know Hosted by Deloitte

What to expect from the auditor’s reporting of critical audit matters (CAMs) in the US under the PCAOB’s new requirements.

Auditors in the US will soon be required to communicate critical audit matters in auditor’s reports issued under PCAOB standards.  A similar requirement already exists under international auditing standards.  What can investors expect from the reporting of CAMs?  How will the implementation and reporting of CAMs in the US be similar or different from the reporting of key audit matters under international auditing standards?  Will the auditor’s report and CAMs become integral to investors understanding of the financial statements?  Has KAMs had this result?

13:10 - 14:10
Networking Lunch
14:10 – 15:10
Plenary 3: Board quality as a prerequisite for good governance

The role of the board is to promote the success of the company by driving long-term, sustained value through the effective oversight of management. Assessing the quality of corporate boards is notoriously difficult – either by investors or companies themselves. So what are the attributes of an effective board - unbiased leadership, appropriate diversity, an appropriate number of independent directors…? What can Nomination Committees do to retire the ‘zombies’ and unlock vacancies to encompass wider ethnicity, social class and cognitive reasoning. How can investors truly assess the quality of board candidates and the process for regular board refreshment?  

15:10 – 16:10
Hosted Sessions
Session D: Influence on the expertise/skills of board members Hosted by BNP Paribas Asset Management

The board composition should be a sufficient mix of directors with relevant knowledge, industry experience and diversity of perspectives to generate effective challenge, discussion and objective decision-making. How investors are pushing this subject of skills matrix, board expertise on their engagement/Shareholder proposal/voting activities? What are the differences between US and non-US on this subject? How companies integrate expertise in their board recruitment process and evaluation? 

Session E - Gauging the progress of women in the boardroom Hosted by ISS

ISS will host a wide-ranging, interactive discussion on the challenges facing women in the boardroom, including gender inequality evidenced today in significant executive pay disparities, as well as the slow pace of boardroom change.  At this session,  ISS will detail for attendees the findings of an in-depth, time-series analysis of the foregoing and other related issues to further inform the debate on these important public policy matters and to aid institutional investors seeking to better understand, forecast and address potential reputational harm to portfolio companies.

16:10 – 16:40
Networking Refreshment Break
16.40 - 17.20
Plenary 4: How technology is changing capital markets

Technology is rewriting – recoding – how capital markets work. This session will address some of the more impactful developments:

-   Artificial intelligence: Using big data and machine learning to gain an ESG edge

-   Robotic portfolio management: Using artificial intelligence to pick stocks is the next step in the evolution from index funds to smart beta and factor investing. There is now even an artificial intelligence/robot run ETF

-   Data privacy: Between the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica issue and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, the way companies collect, analyze, share and use data is changing. Who will be the winners and losers?

17:50 – 18:40
Pre-dinner networking drinks
18:40 - 20:10
Conference Dinner