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Standard Life fund arm raises governance concerns at VW, Shell

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 18.26.28Business | Wed Mar 2, 2016 

The investment arm of British insurer Standard Life (SL.L) said on Wednesday it would step up its engagement with management at Volkswagen VOWG_P.DE and Royal Dutch Shell RDSA.L over certain concerns it has regarding corporate governance.

In its annual governance and stewardship report Standard Life Investments said it continued to be worried about a lack of independence on the German carmaker’s supervisory board and board committees following the appointment of former Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Poetsche as chairman of the Supervisory Board, in the wake of the firm’s emissions scandal.

The fund manager also said it continued to have concerns at Shell about the auditing of its accounts following the appointment of EY, which also served as auditor of BG, the company taken over by Shell last month.

Standard Life Investments flagged the two companies as candidates for “escalation”, indicating the firm would press the companies on their concerns.

No one at Volkswagen could immediately be reached for comment, while Shell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In its report Standard Life Investments also said it had been influential in achieving governance changes at petroleum firm SOCO International (SIA.L), property manager Grainger (GRI.L) and oil producer EOG Resources (EOG.N).

It said budget airline Ryanair (RYA.L), advertising company WPP (WPP.L), oilfield services company Petrofac (PFC.L), utility services retailer Telecom Plus (TEP.L), miner Anglo American (AAL.L), tourism group Thomas Cook (TCG.L), heart device maker Boston Scientific (BSX.N) and advertising agency Dentsu (4324.T) were all on track to meet objectives concerning governance issues.

(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Sinead Cruise, Greg Mahlich)

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