Netherlands: Annual Report Published On Compliance With Dutch Corporate Governance Code

De Monitoring Commissie Corporate Governance Code heeft haar jaarlijkse rapport gepubliceerd. Hierin doet de Commissie verslag van drie onderzoeken: een onderzoek naar de naleving van de Nederlandse Corporate Governance Code in het boekjaar 2014, een onderzoek naar beschermingsmaatregelen en een onderzoek naar de internationale context van de Code.

Daarnaast heeft de Monitoring Commissie Corporate Governance Code op 11 februari 2016 ook een consultatiedocument gepresenteerd met voorstellen voor herziening van de Corporate Governance Code. Alle stakeholders en geïnteresseerden zijn uitgenodigd om op het consultatiedocument te reageren en deel te nemen aan het publieke debat over herziening van de Code. De consultatieperiode duurt tot en met 6 april 2016. Meer informatie hierover is te vinden in de Legal alert die we op 11 februari verstuurden.

De Commissie constateert dat de laatste jaren het meest is afgeweken van de bepalingen over het bezoldigingsbeleid en de maximale vertrekvergoeding. Het doel van de Code – duidelijkheid en volledigheid over beloningen – wordt met de huidige bepalingen onvoldoende bereikt. Bij de herziening van de Code kijkt de Commissie daarom kritisch naar deze bepalingen.

De Commissie stelt verder vast dat een aanzienlijk deel van de vennootschappen die hebben deelgenomen aan het onderzoek geen interne auditfunctie heeft. De Commissie benadrukt het belang van deze functie voor de interne risicobeheersings- en controlesystemen. Als ondernemingen nog geen interne auditfunctie hebben, roept de Commissie ze op om zorgvuldig te evalueren of daar wellicht behoefte aan is, of om te motiveren waarom bestaande alternatieven voor een interne auditfunctie zouden voldoen.

De Commissie constateert dat vaak wordt afgeweken van de maximale benoemingstermijnen van bestuurders en commissarissen in de Code. De Commissie benadrukt dat de termijnen van bestuurders en commissarissen in de Code gericht zijn op het goed functioneren van het bestuur en de raad van commissarissen. Bovendien kan een lange zittingstermijn de onafhankelijkheid van een commissaris beïnvloeden. De maximale zittingstermijn van twaalf jaar die volgens de Code is toegestaan, kan in de ogen van de Commissie te lang zijn om met gepaste afstand toezicht te houden op het bestuur. De Commissie betrekt dit bij herziening van de Code.

De Commissie constateert ook dat vennootschappen verschillende maatregelen hebben genomen om de diversiteit binnen het bestuur en de raad van commissarissen te vergroten, maar dat deze maatregelen vooral zijn gericht op de selectieprocedure van kandidaten bij benoeming van bestuurders en commissarissen, en op het ontwikkelen van diversiteitsbeleid. De Commissie benadrukt het belang van concrete resultaten en zal dat punt betrekken bij herziening van de Code.

De wijze waarop het strategisch perspectief is ingebed in vennootschappen varieert sterk volgens de Commissie, en het is onduidelijk hoe de langetermijnstrategie wordt meegenomen in de in control statements. De Commissie betrekt ook dit bij herziening van de Code.

  • Beschermingsmaatregelen

De Commissie constateert dat de eerder waargenomen trend dat vennootschappen minder beschermingsmaatregelen hanteren, afvlakt. De Commissie vindt dat de discussie over het gebruik van beschermingsmaatregelen moet plaatsvinden in de vennootschapsrechtelijke context. De Commissie houdt daarom vast aan het uitgangspunt dat eventuele regulering van het gebruik van beschermingsmaatregelen allereerst bij wet moet worden geregeld. De Commissie zal dan ook geen initiatief nemen de bepaling die ziet op het reguleren van het gebruik ervan aan te passen.

  • Internationale context

In opdracht van de Commissie is de Nederlandse Code vergeleken met die van Duitsland, Frankrijk, Hong Kong, Italië, Singapore en het Verenigd Koninkrijk. De Commissie constateert dat de onderwerpen en uitwerking ervan in de verschillende codes grotendeels overeenkomen. Op enkele punten is de Nederlandse Code veeleisender dan de andere codes. Zo gaat de vereiste publicatie van zowel een gedragscode als een klokkenluidersregeling verder dan de internationale norm. Ook de vereiste publicatie van details van overeenkomsten met bestuurders gaat verder dan de internationale norm. Verder is alleen in Nederland maatschappelijk verantwoord ondernemen onderdeel van de Code.

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