Ernst & Young acquisition enhances corporate governance advisory capabilities

NEW YORK ―Ernst & Young LLP has enhanced its corporate governance advisory capabilities with the addition of a corporate governance team, a research application and a comprehensive database of corporate governance information from Proxy Governance Inc.

These additions, which were completed in time for the 2011 proxy season, give Ernst & Young a unique ability to examine the governance and shareholder engagement needs facing boards and senior executives.

The corporate governance environment in the United States and globally is in flux, with several significant new requirements in effect and others pending. “More than ever, boards need to be aware of shareholder perspectives and meaningfully engage with them,” said Tom McGrath, partner and senior vice chair of markets, Ernst & Young LLP. “This need has increased the demand for the best practice insights Ernst & Young can provide with these capabilities, which is particularly powerful when combined with our existing suite of capabilities in assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services.”

Ernst & Young LLP’s newly established Corporate Governance Group, which includes members of the former PGI team, has already helped clients address questions raised by boards, audit committees and senior management.

“We can help answer very specific questions raised by a client or we can enter into a more general discussion of corporate governance issues with the client and our engagement team,” McGrath said.

The types of relevant topics the group is often called upon to research or discuss include the following:

  • Executive compensation
  • Board composition
  • Social and environmental shareholder proposals
  • Institutional voting policies

“These issues affect all public companies, regardless of their industry or size,” said Michael Inserra, Partner, Ernst & Young, LLP. “We can also conduct research and provide pragmatic insights, which will give Ernst & Young clients perspectives as to how their corporate governance actions and policies compare with peers and which issues are capturing the interest of shareholders.”