The Code was first launched in 2005 and is a set of guidelines for good corporate governance that all stock exchange listed companies are obliged to apply. This year a sustainability perspective has been added to the duties of a company's board of directors and the revision has been driven by the European Commission's ongoing corporate governance work and several proposed pieces of legislation; updated shareholder rights directive, the directive on non-financial information, and the directive and regulation on auditors and audits. However, the directive on non-financial information and the directive and regulation on auditors and audits have yet to be implemented in Sweden, and, in addition, the negotiations are not completed as regards the updated shareholder rights directive. Hence, the revised version of the Code does not include potential amendments resulting from these regulations and directives. However, this EU legislation is likely to require new amendments to the Code when implemented, which is expected at the end of 2015 or in 2016. Therefore, it is likely that the Code will be further amended during 2016.
The current amendments include:
- The board's responsibility for internal control applies not only to financial reporting but also to all relevant aspects of the company
- The meaning of “ownership responsibility” has been further explained by referring to sustainability, diversity, gender equality and social responsibility
- The nomination committee, not only the board, is now to consider versatility and gender balance when evaluating proposals. Gender balance shall be motivated in the statement provided to, and presented at, the annual shareholders’ meeting.
- Each member of a company's nomination committee must consider carefully whether there is any conflict of interest before accepting a position on the committee