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Holiday Wishlist for C-Suites and Boards

08 December 2023

Holiday Wishlist for C-Suites and Boards

As we prepare to flip the calendar to 2024, do you have access to all the information necessary to make sound decisions and steer positive corporate reputation in the new year?
Your company probably spends a significant amount on annual insurance, but are you best prepared for a potential activist attack, proxy fight, labor issue or compensation debate?  Many boards engage these services when the heat begins or have checked the box years ago and may have missed the major changes in current shareholder sentiment.

At Morrow Sodali, we review this critical check list with our clients at the start of the year to make sure they are looking around corners; separating signal from noise; and laying the foundation for stronger stakeholder relationships. 

+ Capital Markets Intelligence: Institutional filings only update at the end of the quarter and are 45 days delayed. Do you have a current understanding of your shareholder base and the ownership profile? Don’t wait for a market rumor or shareholder letter. Changes in buyers and sellers or curious position building can be early alerts that allow you to make a significant difference in effective corporate communication, strategic planning, and managing risk. A thorough, real-time understanding of who owns your stock is paramount to analyzing the implications of ownership changes with respect to corporate policies and vulnerability to activism.
+ ESG: You may have, in the past, updated your materiality assessment every two or three years. As the concept of materiality has become embedded in disclosure regulations and standards, however, expectations for frequency, rigor, and specificity have risen. With new disclosure regulations already online and in the pipeline, consumer sentiment shifting, and institutional votes evolving, do you understand what is most important today to your key stakeholders? How is that information being used to inform your corporate strategy, overall reporting, and governance practices?
+ Governance: Do you have a team in place tracking the issues and “hot buttons” for this proxy season? Compensation issues are ever-present but constantly nuanced. Communications around sustainability and ESG are ever-evolving. But business practices still drive shareholder value, and taking the right approach can benefit your bottom line.
+ Board Communications Preparedness Tied to Governance: Each year, companies participate in crisis simulations and work to address, in real-time, how they would react.  Does this work also include your board and their communications plan? We have all seen how poor governance and communications waste valuable resources and destroy company value. Yet these are often not considered in the crisis plan. 

Our experts at Morrow Sodali have cultivated a deep understating of the shareholder and stakeholder issues and their practical voting implications to track capital markets movements in real-time; providing intelligence and advice based on the hundreds of situations, both contested and uncontested, that we see at the ballot box every year. Our ESG team helps clients prioritize issues through materiality and baseline assessments and has deep expertise in reporting and disclosure amid the ever-evolving expectations of stakeholders and regulators. Our governance advisors keep their fingers on the pulse to help clients make considered, informed decisions in the midst of companies’ most challenging moments. 

As a C-Suite or Board Member, I would sleep better at night knowing if I woke up to an issue in the morning, I would start with up-to-date information and strong advisors on my team. Make sure you are ready for all 2024 has in store.
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