General Information

Good governance standards are essential to ensure the confidence of capital markets. The Italian corporate governance system is now one of the most advanced in the word. It rests on three pillars:

-       The Voto di Lista mechanism (1994);

-       The Corporate Governance Code for listed companies (1999);

-   The Italian Stewardship Principles for the exercise of administrative and voting rights in listed companies (2013).

The Italian Corporate Governance Committee, established in 1999 and renewed in 2011, in the current configuration is composed by the issuers and investors associations (Abi, Ania, Assonime, Confindustia and Assogestioni) as well as the Italian Stock Exchange (Borsa Italiana). The purpose of the Committee is to promote the adoption of good corporate governance practices by Italian listed companies, that has to be pursued either by a constant alignment of the Corporate Governance Code for Listed Companies with best practices, and through other initiatives which would enhance the credibility of the Code.

The Italian market is characterized by concentrated ownership of listed companies. In this context the role played by institutional investors is crucial in the internal dynamics of Italian listed issuers. Their role in protecting and advancing the interest of their clients versus the controlling shareholders is particularly significant. Asset managers and other institutional investors, also through participation in the activities of Assogestioni’s Corporate Governance Committee and the Investment Managers’ Committee, should operate on behalf of their clients:

-       by engaging with the companies in which they invest, according to the Italian Stewardship Code, that provides a set of high-level practices designed to promote discussion and cooperation between investment management companies and listed issuers in  which assets are invested.

-       and appointing independent directors to achieve the protection of the interest of the minorities of the investee companies, according to the Italian legal system and the Stewardship Code.

 Alongside the global trend of improving ESG culture, largest asset managers in the last few years and Assogestioni in 2016 joined UN Principles for Responsible Investment, in the light of improving, prompting and promoting the relevance of ESG factors within the investment management industry.