It has been two eventful years since the Canadian federal government announced its plans to pass legislation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. In the U.S., over 80% of the states including California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington have legalized recreational and/or medicinal use of marijuana at the state level. The California industry alone is projected to hit over $7 billion in a few years. This has led to a growing list of emerging companies in the cannabis space seeking financing through the public markets as they see the opportunity in building up their operations to cater to a significant spike in marijuana use now that it is legalized in Canada and more and more U.S. states are legalizing it in some form or fashion. While listing on exchanges in the United States can still be problematic due to the current U.S. federal ban, Canadian stock exchanges have provided a reputable market for cannabis shares with companies listing on the TSX Venture Exchange and Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE). Certain Canadian listed companies have also been able to dual-list their shares on the NYSE such as Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis and Aphria with others such as CannTrust currently in the process of listing in New York. This is providing greater exposure of these stocks to institutional investors and index funds.
Innovation is fast. For instance, Moore’s Law claims that computer processing capabilities will double approximately every two years and surprisingly, this has held true for over 50 years since it was first predicted. Innovations change societies, industries and lives. My mother’s parents both passed away at the age of 97 and I was always amazed at the fact that throughout their lives they witnessed the adoption of things such as trains, cars and airplanes that transformed travel; radio and telephone technologies that transformed communication; and at the end of their lives computers and the internet that continue to transform everything (i.e. the internet of everything). Similarly, my wife and I have installed several Google homes throughout our house and as a result, our two very young children will most likely never know a world without access to a virtual assistant and as a result, I often wonder what the lives of today’s children will be like and how new technologies will influence and change their lives.
Picture this. January 2009. In the midst of an unforgiving Canadian winter - the kind of winter that creates goosebumps just by reminiscing about it - Luis Navas, family man with a 5 and 3-year-old at home, decided to take a leap of faith and officially found Global Governance Advisors (GGA). He had spent 10 years consulting at Mercer and Korn Ferry/Hay Group, becoming the firm’s youngest Partner, and finally had enough. He refused to suppress his entrepreneurial spirit any longer. His family and friends weren’t surprised by his hunger to branch out, he was born with vision and a knack for business – after all, he was only 9 years old when he bought paper routes off of his peers and hired his friends to work for him.
The clock struck midnight on December 31st, ringing in the start of a new year. While most companies work to finalize their audited financial statements in the next month or two, they also need to be aware of other important tasks required in the months ahead. This includes the calculation, review and approval of Annual Incentive payouts for 2018 as well as the review and approval of any adjustments to Base Salary, Target Annual Incentive and Long-Term Incentive opportunities for 2019. Once these approvals are made, companies must figure out how they are going to communicate the executive compensation decisions made for 2018 and potentially what shareholders can expect for compensation in 2019, to shareholders. This information is provided through a company’s Form DEF 14A in the United States or its Canadian equivalent, the Management Information Circular, also referred to as the proxy circular. Specifically, the Compensation Discussion & Analysis (“CD&A”) section is where the majority of information can be found.
Boards spend an unbelievable amount of time, energy and financial resources trying to find the right nominees/candidates that can add value and enhance governance oversight, but for many boards, the momentum ends once the vacancy is filled or when the infamous “orientation binder” is sent to a newly elected board member. In practical terms, this is like an Olympic marathon runner training for years and then deciding to walk their race on the day of their Olympic event – ultimately, they are not utilizing or benefiting from the hard work they put in upfront.
We’ve all been there. The moment of sweat-inducing truth when all of your board software demos are over, and you need to decide. It’s not too life altering of a decision, deciding on board software, but years of ordering items online and never quite receiving what was advertised has made you slightly paranoid. But change is on the horizon, which means that you must wipe the dampness from the corner of your brow and power forward. It’s time to create a board management software comparison so that you can identify the all-encompassing enterprise solution that best fits your organization’s needs.
ISS has recently published its 2019 proxy voting guidelines for the United States and Canada, along with additional clarification on some of its compensation policies. Typically, any changes will apply for all meeting dates on or after February 1, 2019. While there are some differences observed between the two jurisdictions, ISS has provided clarity on updates in the following areas:
There’s been a lot of talk in the market place today about the value of performance plans. The naysayers claim that they are not driving performance in the way they were originally intended, and the supporters argue that all compensation should not be a guarantee. A point of intersection is the fact that everyone agrees that employees should be recognized for the contributions they make and the performance they deliver.
“Shareholders are organizing and mobilizing on new social media platforms like Twitter. This changes the dynamics of shareholder proxy contests to favor small shareholders over management. Disruptive technology may bring about a shareholder revolution, which may not be in all shareholders’ best interests, at least from the perspective of shareholder wealth maximization, and it also has powerful implications for the future of corporate social responsibility.” Seth Oranberg, How Twitter is Disrupting Shareholder Activism