Three days before the U.K. leaves the European Union, Lord William Hague, former leader of the U.K. Conservative Party, discusses breaking developments and the separation's immediate and long-term ramifications for institutional investors around the globe.
Speakers: Lord William Hague, introduced by Richard A. Bennett
Leading lawyers and fund managers discuss emerging trends in shareholder litigation in Europe, and the best methods for recovering losses, repairing corporate governance, and protecting fund portfolios.
Speakers: Enno Balz, Darren Robbins, Mark Solomon, and Jenny Whiteman
An in-depth discussion regarding developments surrounding human capital, including diversity in the workplace and the boardroom, pay gaps and the living wage, the rise of artificial intelligence, and how technology and global connectivity can release the power of human potential across the globe.
Speakers: Adam Smith-Anthony, Alan MacDougall and TBD
Head of Business & Human Rights
Omnia Strategy LLP
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Seasoned asset owners and managers from Europe and the Middle East discuss institutional investor interests, rights, and obligations in cross-border securities transactions, from trading to voting shares to litigation.
Speakers: Luke O. Brooks, Hanan Friedman, Assaf Hamdani, and Nataly Mishan
First Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs Division
Bank Leumi Le Israel Ltd.
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Around the globe, governments and other authorities are imposing new mandates on institutional investors. From climate risks to ESMA suitability assessments and PRI requirements, fiduciary duties are in the spotlight. Experts discuss new developments and share insights so your fund can be best prepared for what’s next.
Speakers: Gordon Brough, Guido de Clercq and TBD
As Managing Director and Founder of PIRC Limited, Europe's largest proxy research provider, Alan MacDougall brings over 30 years' experience to the global proxy business. He and his colleagues have built PIRC into a unique business providing global proxy research and analysis, custom data services, investment policy advice, engagement services and investor advocacy on the full range of environmental, social and governance matters.
With a background in public pension funds, Mr. MacDougall has been active in a wide range of investor coalitions, including the Council of Institutional Investors (CII), the International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) and the UK Local Authority Pension Fund Forum (LAPFF). At PIRC, his leadership focus is on company annual meeting procedures, shareholder engagement and shareowner proposals, the local government pension scheme, pension fund investment and public policy reforms. He has participated in the Best Practice Principles Group of Proxy Research Advisers, available at http://bppgrp.info/.
Guido De Clercq is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Royal Park Investments. He has an extensive background in law, compliance, governance and international politics, as well as litigation and private sector experience.
From 1993 until 2016, Mr. De Clercq held key positions in the legal department of the ENGIE Group as General Counsel and Deputy Secretary General. He was the "Trophée d'Or du Droit" winner of the 2011 Golden Trophy "Best Law Department of an International Group" recognizing the Group General Counsel for his "management and entrepreneurial qualities." Mr. De Clercq was also the winner of the Gold Award "Best Law Department 2011: France" of the International General Counsels Awards 2011, recognizing "the excellence of the Laureate General Counsel for his performance on the long run."
Before joining the ENGIE Group, Mr. De Clercq was an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Leuven, Belgium, a member of the Brussels Bar, and the Head of the International Legal Department of a telecom company.
Mr. De Clercq holds a Bachelors degree in Philosophy (cum laude) and a Masters degree in Law (summa cum laude) of the University of Leuven, Belgium. He graduated, as a Fulbright Fellow, with an M.A. in International Affairs from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University in Washington D.C. He obtained a Ph.D. in Law from the University of Leuven, Belgium, and attended the General Management Programme CEDEP at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.
Mr. De Clercq is admitted to the Bar of Brussels and is a member of the International Bar Association and of the Union Internationale des Avocats. He is currently also the Executive Director of the Belgian Chapter of Transparency International and a member of the Council of Senior International Attorneys of the Conference Board (USA). He is an honorary member of the Belgian Institute of Company Lawyers. He was Senior Vice Chair of the Power Law Committee of the International Bar Association.
Nataly Mishan-Zakai is the General Counsel of Harel Insurance and Financial Services Ltd., and titled as Executive Deputy General Manager.
Harel Insurance and Financial Services is the largest insurance and finance group in Israel, with the largest insurance company in Israel, active in the life, health and non-life insurance business. The group is also active in the field of credit insurance and insurance for mortgage loans and is also active in Turkey and Greece, mainly in non-life and health insurance. Harel Group also has an impressive presence in the pension field, provident funds and education funds. Also, Harel Group is active in the field of mutual funds and portfolio management, and was chosen as the investment house of 2018 in Israel.
As such, the group's presence and activity is very wide, diversified and highly regulated. As General Counsel of the group from 2014, Ms. Mishan-Zakai is in charge of all legal engagements of the group, deals (including international complex deals), strategic projects, ongoing legal counseling, consulting to the management and the board of directors, legal proceedings in which the group is involved (including court proceedings, arbitrations and mediations), regulation and compliance. Within that position, Ms. Mishan-Zakai manages a team of 30 in-house lawyers and 20 compliance people, and works with dozens law firms that represent Harel Group in various issues.
Previously, Ms. Mishan-Zakai was a partner at Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co. ("FBC"), which is one of the leading law firms in Israel in any category. Ms. Mishan-Zakai was the head of the Securities and Corporate Governance Department at FBC and was involved in many high-profile deals in Israel and gave legal services to dozens of Israel-traded companies. Ms. Mishan-Zakai worked at FBC for 14 years.
Ms. Mishan-Zakai was chosen as one of the 40 promising young people in Israel of TheMarker (Israeli's most reputable economics daily newspaper).
Ms. Mishan-Zakai LL.B. graduated cum laude from Tel Aviv University and received a Master in Arts in Commercial Law cum laude from Tel Aviv University (in cooperation with Berkeley University).
After 10 years as General Counsel with Aberdeen Standard Investments ("ASI"), Gordon Brough now acts as a consultant for the company. During most of his time with ASI, the asset management company was included on the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index as a global business managing around £300bn. In 2017, ASI merged with Standard Life plc, taking the group's assets under management to around £600bn. Mr. Brough was General Counsel for the group’s asset management division, with ASI sitting on the group’s Client Committee.
Prior to joining ASI in February 2009, Mr. Brough was a corporate lawyer in private practice. He established and built up a specialist financial services law firm, City Law, before merging that business with Scottish law firm Maclay Murray & Spens ("MMS"). He headed the financial services practice at MMS and sat on the Firm's Management Board. In his time at City Law and MMS, Mr. Brough handled almost all of ASI's corporate and acquisition work.
In addition to his role at ASI, Mr. Brough is a non-executive director of three companies: The Value Catalyst Fund Limited (the remnant, now in wind down, of an investment fund managed by Laxey Partners); Golden Charter Trust Limited (a funeral plan trust company with £1bn under management); and The Peters Fraser & Dunlop Group Limited (a literary agency).
Mr. Brough originally qualified as a solicitor in Scotland before re-qualifying in English law. In his time in private practice he published a textbook on company law and edited the principal academic text on the law of partnership in Scotland. He was also a contributor to the Law of Investment Management, writing the sections on investment managers' duty of care.
Mark Solomon is a founding partner in Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP's San Diego office and leads its international litigation practice. Over the last 23 years, he has regularly represented United States- and United Kingdom-based pension funds, and asset managers in class and non-class securities litigation in federal and state courts throughout the United States. He has been admitted to the Bars of England and Wales (Barrister), Ohio and California, but now practices exclusively in California, as well as in various United States federal district and appellate courts.
Mr. Solomon has spearheaded the prosecution of many significant securities fraud cases. He has obtained multi-hundred million dollar recoveries for plaintiffs in pre-trial settlements and significant corporate governance reforms designed to limit recidivism and promote appropriate standards. He litigated, through the rare event of trial, the securities class action against Helionetics Inc. and its executives, where he won a $15.4 million federal jury verdict. Prior to the most recent financial crisis, he was instrumental in obtaining some of the first mega-recoveries in the field in California and Texas, serving as co-lead counsel in In re Informix Corp. Sec. Litig., in the federal district court for the Northern District of California, and recovering $131 million for Informix investors; and serving as co-lead counsel in Schwartz v. TXU Corp., in the federal district court for the Northern District of Texas, where he helped obtain a recovery of over $149 million for a class of purchasers of TXU securities. Solomon is currently counsel to a number of pension funds serving as lead plaintiffs in cases throughout the United States.
Prior to his career with the Firm, Mr. Solomon practiced at the international firm Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio, followed by practicing at the Los Angeles office of New York’s Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. At these firms, his representations included the defense of securities fraud and other white-collar crimes, antitrust, copyright, commercial and real estate litigation, and reinsurance arbitration. While practicing in Los Angeles, acting for plaintiffs as sole counsel, Mr. Solomon took to trial and won complex commercial contract and real estate actions in the Orange County and Los Angeles Superior Courts, respectively.
Mr. Solomon is a past chair of the American Bar Association Directors, Officers Liability Sub Committee and the Accountants Liability Sub-Committee, and is the author of the UK National Association of Pension Funds 2012 "Securities Class Actions made simple" and the 2015 "Securities Fraud and Investors Remedies made simple" guides.
For the past two consecutive years, The Legal 500 has named Mr. Solomon a Recommended Lawyer in its nationwide category of "Securities Litigation – Plaintiff," citing his dual qualifications in English and U.S. law and his leadership of the Firm’s international litigation practice. He earned his law degrees at Trinity College, Cambridge University, England, Harvard Law School, and the Inns of Court School of Law in London.
Assaf Hamdani is currently a Professor of Law at Tel Aviv University, and a member of the European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI). Professor Hamdani was previously the Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz Professor of Corporate Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has been a Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School, the University of Berkeley Law School, Harvard Law School, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Mr. Hamdani's research areas are corporate law, corporate governance, and securities regulation. His work has been published in leading law reviews, including the Yale Law Journal, California Law Review, Columbia Law Review, and Stanford Law Review, and in peer-reviewed journals, such as the Review of Finance. He chaired Israel's Committee on Institutional Investors and Capital Markets and served as a member of Israel's Securities Authority, and as an advisor to Israel's Committee on Institutional Investors' Investment in Corporate Bonds.
Adam Smith-Anthony is a Senior Associate at Omnia Strategy and the Head of the Business & Human Rights practice. He is a qualified solicitor-advocate specializing in public international and human rights law. His broad experience also encompasses employment, intellectual property, consumer and commercial law.
Mr. Smith-Anthony advises and represents businesses on matters of corporate responsibility and business & human rights, providing legal, communications and commercial support. In recent months this has included leading global human rights reviews for blue-chip companies and representing clients in parent company liability litigation in the U.K. Supreme Court.
Mr. Smith-Anthony has also advised State entities in respect of public international law matters, including international criminal law and international humanitarian law, international and regional courts and accountability mechanisms, the UN OHCHR universal periodic review process and human rights treaty bodies, and the rule of law and capacity building. He has also acted as lead negotiator and counsel on a strategic infrastructure deal for an Eastern European State and has experience advising on matters of international investment law and the enforcement of arbitral awards and court judgments.
Before joining Omnia Strategy, Mr. Smith-Anthony worked for a leading international law firm in London, including extended secondments to the in-house legal teams of two renowned international technology and online services companies. He led the legal team representing the UNHCR in a strategic judicial intervention regarding refugee returns from the U.K. to Somalia.
Separately, Mr. Smith-Anthony completed a placement within the U.K. Houses of Parliament, and served as an Associate Legal Officer in the Chambers Support Section and an advisor to the President of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Mr. Smith-Anthony is admitted to the roll in England and Wales, where his higher rights of audience permit him to appear before the senior courts. He was appointed the firm’s Compliance Officer for Legal Practice in June 2018. Mr. Smith-Anthony holds LL.B. Law (honors) and LL.M. Public International Law (distinction) degrees from the University of Nottingham, a Postgraduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law and Practice from the University of Oxford, and has completed further training at the University College London and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.
Jenny Whiteman is a senior in-house lawyer at Hermes Investment Management. She joined Hermes in 2008 after training at Eversheds, where she qualified into the Commercial Department in 2003. Ms. Whiteman undertakes a broad range of work at Hermes, which is mainly non-contentious, including leading major outsourcing contract negotiations and negotiating client and supply agreements. She has been responsible for advising both Hermes and its owner, BT Pension Scheme, on shareholder litigation since 2012. This has included considering and advising on lead plaintiff and opt-out actions, and also a growing number of non-U.S. actions. Ms. Whiteman has been involved in drafting shareholder litigation policies for both BT Pension Scheme and Hermes to ensure a transparent and uniform approach in this area.
William Hague was born and brought up in Yorkshire. After attending a local comprehensive (and causing a media sensation as a schoolboy speaker at the Conservative Party Conference), he studied at Oxford and INSEAD, and worked in management consultancy. He then served as Member of Parliament for Richmond for 26 years.
Lord Hague has been a prominent political leader for more than 20 years, serving as Leader of the Conservative Party and as Foreign Secretary. After announcing his intention to step down, he concluded his political career as First Secretary of State and Leader of the House of Commons.
In four years as Foreign Secretary, Lord Hague dealt with a turbulent period encompassing wars in Libya and Syria, withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Ukraine crisis, the struggle against terrorism and relations with Europe. He expanded Britain's diplomatic network and placed a renewed emphasis on export success. He was also responsible for two of Britain's intelligence agencies, and visited more countries than any Foreign Secretary in history.
Lord Hague also led the negotiating team that created coalition government in 2010. His mix of international and domestic experience has given him a deep knowledge of the inside of politics and the reasons for growing instability in world affairs. He speaks with great authority on the impact of technological change, population movement, economic trends, and the rise of religious intolerance on our economy and all our lives.
Having known many global leaders, he speaks from rich experience about different styles of leadership – drawing on numerous debates with Tony Blair and first-hand knowledge of the world's Presidents, from George W. Bush to Vladimir Putin.
Lord Hague is also well known as a raconteur, hailed by Hillary Clinton as “the David Beckham of toasting.” With true Yorkshire wit and natural comic timing, he describes the pitfalls of politics and the disasters caused when media, drink, politicians and debating come together. He is also an accomplished historian, author of two bestsellers and winner of the History Book of the Year Award.
Lord Hague lives in Wales and Yorkshire with his wife, Ffion. He continues with his humanitarian work, including the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, which he co-founded with Angelina Jolie Pitt, and work to combat the illegal trade in wildlife.
Richard A. Bennett is President and Chief Executive Officer of ValueEdge Advisors, a firm founded in the summer of 2014 to help institutional investors engage with their portfolio companies. From 2006, Mr. Bennett served as Chief Executive Officer and then Chairman of GMI Ratings and its predecessor, The Corporate Library, a globally recognized investment research firm specializing in corporate governance and ESG with offices in London, New York, San Diego and Portland, Maine. In August 2014, GMI Ratings was sold to MSCI, where Mr. Bennett serves as a senior advisor. He worked as Director of Corporate Governance for LENS, an institutional activist fund, from 1997 to 2002. He is an independent director of Biddeford Internet Corporation and a non-executive director of Trucost, Plc, a U.K.-based firm offering products and services that allow companies, governments and fund managers to better understand their environmental performance. From 2009 to 2014 he served on the Board of Governors of the International Corporate Governance Network.
Mr. Bennett has an extensive background in politics and government service, as well as a wide range of private sector experience. A former president of the Maine State Senate, Mr. Bennett served four terms in the Maine Senate and two terms in the state's House of Representatives. He is currently Chairman of the Maine Republican Party and a member of the Republican National Committee. In 2014 he served voluntarily as a member of the MainePERS ESG Integration Task Force.
Directorship magazine has recognized Mr. Bennett six times in its annual list of the 100 "most influential people in corporate governance and the boardroom." In December 2010 he was named by Global Proxy Watch as one of the "10 people around the world who had the most impact on corporate governance in the previous year." He serves on the Advisory Board of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Hebron Academy. He was a member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships from 2005 to 2009. He graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1986 and received his M.B.A. from the University of Southern Maine in 2000.
Darren Robbins is a founding partner of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP. Over the last two decades, he has served as lead counsel in more than 100 securities class actions and has recovered billions of dollars for injured shareholders.
Robbins has obtained significant recoveries in a number of actions arising out of wrongdoing related to the issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities, including the case against Goldman Sachs ($272 million recovery). Robbins also served as co-lead counsel in connection with a $627 million recovery for investors in In re Wachovia Preferred Securities & Bond/Notes Litig., one of the largest credit-crisis settlements involving Securities Act claims. Robbins also recently served as lead counsel in Schuh v. HCA Holdings, Inc., which resulted in a $215 million recovery for shareholders.
One of the hallmarks of Robbins’ practice has been his focus on corporate governance reform. In UnitedHealth, a securities fraud class action arising out of an options backdating scandal, Robbins represented lead plaintiff CalPERS and was able to obtain the cancellation of more than 3.6 million stock options held by the company’s former CEO and secure a record $925 million cash recovery for shareholders. Robbins also negotiated sweeping corporate governance reforms, including the election of a shareholder-nominated director to the company’s board of directors, a mandatory holding period for shares acquired via option exercise, and compensation reforms that tied executive pay to performance. Recently, Robbins led a shareholder derivative action brought by several pension funds on behalf of Community Health Systems, Inc. The case yielded a $60 million payment to Community Health, as well as corporate governance reforms that included two shareholder-nominated directors, the creation and appointment of a Healthcare Law Compliance Coordinator, the implementation of an executive compensation clawback in the event of a restatement, the establishment of an insider trading controls committee, and the adoption of a political expenditure disclosure policy.
Robbins was named California Lawyer Attorney of the Year and has been recognized as one of the nation’s top securities litigators by numerous organizations and publications. He has been named one of the “Top 100 Lawyers Shaping the Future” by the Daily Journal and one of the “Young Litigators 45 and Under” by The American Lawyer. The American Lawyer commended him for helping “set the pace for [his] peers,” and Chambers USA called him “a prominent figure in the field of securities litigation” and “one of the leaders of the plaintiff Bar.” Additionally, Robbins has been named a Benchmark California Star and State Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation.
Robbins is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars around the world on securities litigation and corporate governance reform. He advises institutional investors in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Middle East, Asia and the European Union.
Robbins was awarded Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Economics from the University of Southern California, and received his Juris Doctor degree from Vanderbilt Law School.
Luke Brooks is a partner in Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP’s securities litigation practice group in the San Diego office. He focuses primarily on securities fraud litigation on behalf of individual and institutional investors, including state and municipal pension funds, Taft-Hartley funds, and private retirement and investment funds.
Brooks served as trial counsel in Jaffe v. Household International in the Northern District of Illinois, a securities class action that obtained a record-breaking $1.575 billion settlement after 14 years of litigation, including a six-week jury trial in 2009 that resulted in a verdict for plaintiffs. Other prominent cases recently prosecuted by Brooks include Fort Worth Employees’ Retirement Fund v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., in which plaintiffs recovered $388 million for investors in J.P. Morgan residential mortgage-backed securities, and a pair of cases – Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank v. Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. (“Cheyne”) and King County, Washington, et al. v. IKB Deutsche Industriebank AG (“Rhinebridge”) – in which plaintiffs obtained a settlement, on the eve of trial in Cheyne, from the major credit rating agencies and Morgan Stanley arising out of the fraudulent ratings of bonds issued by the Cheyne and Rhinebridge structured investment vehicles. Reuters described the settlement as a “landmark” deal and emphasized that it was the “first time S&P and Moody’s have settled accusations that investors were misled by their ratings.” An article published in Rolling Stone magazine entitled “The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis” similarly credited Robbins Geller with uncovering “a mountain of evidence” detailing the credit rating agencies’ fraud.
Brooks has been named a Local Litigation Star, a California Star and a State Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation and a Recommended Lawyer by The Legal 500. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco, where he was also a member of the University of San Francisco Law Review. During law school, Brooks externed for the Honorable Vaughn R. Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
Hanan Friedman is the First Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy and Regulatory Affairs Division of Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd.
The Strategy and Regulatory Affairs Division is responsible for assisting Group Management and the Board of Directors in defining and planning Bank and Group strategy and its validation, examining and analyzing subjects with strategic implications, and providing leadership of key projects in the Bank (including the application of the Strum Committee recommendation, streamlining processes in the Bank and the selling of Leumi Card). The Division includes the strategy, regulation, O&M, the international back office and the representative office in China.
Previously, Mr. Friedman was the General Counsel of Bank Leumi Group. The position included responsibility for legal advising to the bank's BOD and responsibility over the legal counsel staff, the compliance division, regulation department, company secretary and the public complaints department. The position also included direct management of a team of more than 170 employees (including 120 lawyers).
Mr. Friedman was also Chief Legal Counsel of Harel Group (the largest insurance group in Israel). He was responsible for the legal counsel staff, aspects of corporate governance, and the company’s administration, regulation and compliance with companies in the Group, including: four insurance companies in Israel (Harel Insurance, Dikla, EMI and ICIC — Israeli Credit & Insurance Co. Ltd.); three pension fund management companies (Harel-Gilad Pensions, Manof Pensions, Atidit Pensions); three provident fund management companies (Harel Provident, Atidit Provident, Standing Army Savings Fund); a mutual fund management company (Harel-Pia); an investment portfolio management company (Harel Finance Investment Management); an ETN management company (Harel ETN); and two foreign insurance companies (Interasco in Greece and TNS in Turkey).
Additionally, Mr. Friedman has served as a board member at Bank Leumi USA and the Chairman of Bank Leumi Le-Israel Corporation (the holding company of Bank Leumi USA) since April 2017.