New research from the University of Sydney Business School contends that high frequency share is having a toxic effect on Australia financial markets, confirming the disquiet experienced by many investors and regulators. The research says that high frequency trading favours ‘predatory strategies that queue-jump institutional and retail investors’ and has driven up transaction costs for ordinary investors relative to high frequency traders.
As happened with risk management, where the international standard replaced the Australian one, the new international standard for compliance, AS/ISO 19600, replaces the former Australian Standard for Compliance AS 3806:2006 (AS 3806). It includes risk management as an essential aspect of a compliance management system and also focuses on compliance as part of the culture of the organisation. In turn, this places an emphasis on compliance as the responsibility of an organisation’s governing body rather than a purely management function.
A two-year review by Volunteering Australia and peak state bodies has resulted in a broader definition of volunteering that reflects the many and varied forms of activities undertaken in Australian society. It includes activism, recognises for the first time corporate volunteering by an entity — companies that organise employee volunteers — and provides explanatory notes on what is in and what is out. The new definition states that volunteering ‘is time willingly given for the common good without financial gain’.
A group of New Zealand institutional investors with significant investments in New Zealand listed companies — around 15% of the equity market — has issued guidelines on corporate governance it wishes to see investee companies adopt. Covering key areas such as director independence, tenure and board renewal; remuneration (both executive and non-executive); reporting and disclosure, the guidelines also recommend new practices such as the right of shareholders to nominate directors; voting on a poll rather than a show of hands; and shareholder approval of share issues above five per cent of total shares.