BOSTON/NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Institutional Shareholder Services Inc expects its staff to keep increasing at a clip of more than 10% a year even after its takeover by German stock exchange operator Deutsche Boerse AG, ISS’ chief executive said on Thursday.
With investor interest spiking in corporate governance issues and matters like climate change, demand for research from the Rockville, Maryland-based company is soaring, CEO Gary Retelny said in an interview with Reuters.
“We’ve been hiring 200 to 300 people a year, even in this pandemic, I don’t expect that to change,” Retelny said.
ISS currently has about 2,000 employees. Deutsche Boerse said on Tuesday it would acquire an 80% stake in ISS for about $1.8 billion, the latest in a flurry of exchange industry deals and more than double what current ISS owner Genstar Capital paid in 2017.
ISS and rival Glass Lewis have grown more influential as votes on matters like director elections, executive pay and climate become more prominent at annual shareholder meetings.
But they have also drawn a backlash from stock issuers, culminating in a rule the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved in July requiring that proxy advisers give companies their reports at the same time as shareholders, and disclose conflicts of interest.
Under its new owner, Retelny said ISS would remain committed to a lawsuit against the SEC seeking to overturn the rulemaking. “We are expecting an answer on the lawsuit before there is a change in power,” at the White House and in Congress, Retelny said.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a trade group representing major companies that supports the SEC rule change, stated in a policy paper this week Congress should pass legislation aimed at proxy advisers.
In the interview, Retelny said his firm serves as “a convenient foil” for companies that dislike the pressure of critical votes but cannot attack their investor bases. (Reporting by Ross Kerber in Boston and by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Tom Brown)