Simon Wong is an unlikely enforcer of corporate accountability. But the soft-spoken former head of corporate governance at Barclays Global Investors will get his chance to be just that as the new managing director and head of stewardship services at the London-based shareholder advisory group Governance for Owners.
Wong, 40, is adamant that institutional shareholders must hold corporate boards to account on key issues from executive pay to risk oversight. He will help oversee the teams efforts advising pension funds and other clients on proxy voting for about 1,700 stocks globally.
Reform is coming, Wong asserts, and institutions should not underestimate their power to encourage better governance practices. It is important for pension funds and other asset owners to beef up their monitoring role and work more closely with their asset managers, he says. The emphasis on good corporate governance must start from the top.