A new edition of the Corporate Governance Code was released on 31 January 2020. The new Code focuses on four essential objectives and principles: sustainability, engagement, proportionality, and simplification.
Sustainability: The new Code intends to encourage Italian equity-listed issuers to adopt strategies based on sustainability. It recommends sustainable success as a priority for company management — defined as long-term value for shareholders and stakeholders — and calls on boards to integrate business plans, internal control and risk management systems, and remuneration policies with appropriate sustainability goals.
Engagement: The new Code recommends that listed issuers develop a dialogue with the market and with investors through specific engagement policies. It assigns a key role to the chairman, who — in agreement with the CEO — is directed to prepare a policy to manage dialogue with investors, which the board will approve and monitor.
Proportionality: The new Code tailors and graduates principles based on the size of the issuer, to promote access to equity capital markets and listing of small- and medium-size companies. Some recommendations are directed at large listed issuers (those with a market capitalisation higher than €1 billion for three consecutive years), while other recommendations apply to issuers with a concentrated ownership controlled by one or more shareholders.
Simplification: The format of the new Code has been simplified. To assist issuers in applying the Code, Q&As based on queries received from issuers will be published on a recurring basis.