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Big companies conspicuous by their absence from corporate governance rankings

Companies including Ford, Viacom and BMW are conspicuous by their absence from a table ranking companies' corporate governance standards. FTSE Group, the index provider, and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), the global consultancy, have unveiled the first phase of an index that ranks companies according to their corporate governance standards.

The Corporate Governance Index (CGI) assesses 60 governance issues under five main themes ? boardroom structure, audit, executive compensation and takeover provisions. Using this data, each company is then rated on a scale of one to five.

The first phase of the CGI, which was released this week, consists of six indices focussing on the US, Japan, Europe, the eurozone and the developed world. The index aims to identify the top 80% of companies in each sector, with the bottom 20% conspicuous by their absence.

ISS chief executive John Connolly says: ?Our rating system was designed specifically to help investment managers assess the impact corporate governance practices may have on portfolio performance.?

Market research undertaken by FTSE and ISS earlier this year showed demand among investors for information regarding companies' corporate governance practice.

Some notable US companies who have not so far made it into the rankings include Ford, Southwest Airlines and Viacom.

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