Corporate governance report - Declaration on corporate governance
Every year, the Executive Board and Supervisory Board report on the company's corporate governance in the Annual Report as required by the German Corporate Governance Code (GCGC). The following statements and details are provided as a Declaration on Corporate Governance in the sense of § 289a of the German Commercial Code (HGB).
Compliance with the Corporate Governance Code
Wording of the Declaration of Compliance of MLP SE pursuant to § 161 of the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG)
"Pursuant to § 161 of the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG), the Executive Board and Supervisory Board of MLP SE hereby declare that the company has generally complied with and will comply with the recommendations of the "German Corporate Governance Code" government commission (version dated February 7, 2017) since the last Declaration of Compliance was issued. Only the recommendations in Sections 4.1.5, 4.2.3 Sentence 11, Section 4.2.3 Sentence 12 to 14, Section 5.1.2. Sentence 2, Section 5.1.2 Sentence 8, Section 5.4.1 (2) Sentence 2 clause 4, clause 5 and clause 6 and Section 5.4.1 (5) Sentence 2 clause 1 were not and will not be applied.
The reasons for these deviations from the recommendations are as follows:
Section 4.1.5 (compliance with diversity at management level)
According to the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code, the Executive Board should take diversity into account when filling managerial positions and, in this respect, aim for an appropriate consideration of women. The Executive Board sets out targets for proportional female representation at the two management levels below Executive Board level.
In the current financial year, the Executive Board has intensified its efforts with respect to diversity when filling managerial positions and, in particular, strives to achieve appropriate consideration of women at managerial levels in the Company. In the past, the Executive Board of MLP SE already took measures directed at reconciling working life and family life. In the financial year 2017, the Executive Board again reviewed the effectiveness of these measures and already adopted an overall concept in November 2013. If appropriate, it will undertake modifications as necessary or initiate further measures in order to achieve appropriate consideration of female candidates at managerial levels in the Company, taking into account the Company’s specific situation. This concept also includes guidelines for diversity-compliant promotion, which will, however, still require final elaboration. Thus, no specifications for concrete selection decisions with respect to filling positions have yet been established. Nevertheless, the Executive Board of MLP SE has only decided upon a percentage of female members amounting to 0 percent at the first management level below the Executive Board as MLP SE is a holding company that has only a very limited number of staff with just a few managers. Beyond this, MLP SE does not have a second level of management below the Executive Board.
The measures are therefore not yet fully compliant with the requirements of Section 4.1.5 of the Code. As was also the case in the financial year 2017, MLP therefore declares it will continue to deviate from this recommendation in 2018.
Section 4.2.3 Sentence 11 (specification of the targeted level of benefits)
According to the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code, the Supervisory Board should specify the respective targeted level of benefits – also taking into account the length of service on the Executive Board – and consider the correspondingly derived annual and long-term cost to the Company.
The new remuneration system introduced by the Supervisory Board within the context of implementing the stipulations of the Management Board Remuneration Act (VorstAG) provides for a contribution-based commitment to grant benefits when appointing new members of the Executive Board. The level of specific contributions to be made by the Company is laid down for each respective member of the Executive Board. They do not hold the risk of any unexpected knock-on effects for the Company, since the respective member of the Executive Board actually bears the investment risk in relation to the Company. In the course of implementing the new remuneration system, a decision was therefore taken to dispense with the notion of switching over any employer's pension commitments for members of the Executive Board which provide a fixed benefit above a contractually defined age limit to a purely contribution-based system at the time of contract changeover. With specific regard to these employer's pension commitments, which are to remain in place, the Company does not comply in full with this recommendation.
Therefore the Supervisory Board is of the opinion that the implementation progress made to date is not yet sufficient to fulfil the requirements of Section 4.2.3 Sentence 11 of the Code in full. As was also the case in the financial year 2017, MLP therefore declares not to follow this recommendation in the financial year 2018.
Section 4.2.3 Sentence 12 to 14 (severance payment cap)
According to the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code, the Company should, when concluding Executive Board member contracts, ensure that payments, including fringe benefits, to an Executive Board member following premature cessation of Executive Board duties without serious cause, do not exceed the value of two years’ remuneration (severance payment cap). If the contract of service is terminated due to serious cause on the part of the Executive Board member, no payments will be made to the Executive Board member. The calculation of the severance payment cap should be based on the total remuneration of the previous financial year and, if appropriate, also on the expected total remuneration of the current financial year. In the event of premature termination of Executive Board membership due to a change of control, any commitment for payments should not exceed 150% of the severance payment cap.
During the course of 2011 MLP completed its amendment to the employment contracts of the members of the Executive Board to incorporate a new remuneration system and, particularly in 2014, aligned them with the requirements of the German Banking Act (KWG) and the Remuneration Ordinance for Institutions. Since the first-mentioned changeover, MLP has complied with the aforementioned recommendations.
However, there is no provision for a severance payment in the event of contract termination by mutual consent. Rules concerning a mutually-sought termination of contract can, in a contractual law sense, in any case only serve as a guideline from which, however, the parties could at any time agree to deviate. For this reason, any provisions of this nature would be no more than a formal act.
As was also the case in 2017, MLP will therefore not comply with this recommendation in 2018.
Section 5.1.2 Sentence 2 (diversity regarding the composition of the Executive Board)
Based on the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code, the Supervisory Board should also pay attention to diversity in the composition of the Executive Board and in particular aim for an appropriate consideration of women. Accordingly, the Supervisory Board should specify target numbers for the degree of female representation on the Executive Board.
The Supervisory Board at MLP SE strives to further intensify its future efforts with respect to diversity and, in particular, an appropriate consideration of women when appointing members of the Executive Board. The Supervisory Board gives specific consideration to applications from suitable female candidates in its selection procedures. In the financial year 2014 the Supervisory Board continued to review this aspect and will undertake further measures in order to build on the Group-wide overall concept already passed by the Executive Board for the implementation of Section 4.1.5 of the Code (observance of diversity for managerial positions) and also achieve an appropriate consideration of women within the Executive Board of the Company, taking into account the Company’s specific situation. Nevertheless the Supervisory Board of MLP SE intends to continue to base its selection decision with respect to appointments primarily on the individual and professional qualifications of prospective candidates. For this reason, the Supervisory Board has specified a target figure for female representation on the Executive Board – which incidentally currently consists of just three persons – of 0 percent.
The Supervisory Board is of the opinion that the implementation progress made to date is not yet sufficient to fulfil the requirements of Section 5.1.2 Sentence 2 of the Code in full. As was also the case in the financial year 2017, MLP therefore declares not to follow this recommendation in the financial year 2018.
Section 5.1.2 Sentence 8 (age limit for members of the Executive Board)
According to the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code, an age limit should be set for members of the Executive Board.
MLP did not follow this recommendation in 2017. There is no set age limit for members of the Executive Board at MLP. The appointment of members of the Executive Board should be based solely on their knowledge, skills and specialist experience. As was the case in 2017, MLP will therefore not comply with this recommendation in 2018.
Section 5.4.1 (2) Sentence 2, clause 4, clause 5 and clause 6 (consideration of age limit, standard limit for length of service for members of the Supervisory Board and diversity in the composition of the Supervisory Board)
According to the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code, the Supervisory Board is to take into account a pre-defined age limit, a standard limit for the length of service and diversity with regard to its composition while also taking into consideration the Company's specific situation, international operations, any potential conflicts of interest and the number of independent members of the Supervisory Board in the sense of Section 5.4.2.
No age limit or standard limit for the length of service is specified for members of the Supervisory Board. In light of the knowledge, expertise and specialist experience stipulated in Section 5.4.1 Sentence 1 of the Code, it seems inappropriate to specify an age limit and standard length of service for members of the Supervisory Board. As was the case in 2017, MLP will therefore not comply with this recommendation in 2018.
These concrete objectives should also provide for an appropriate degree of female representation. Proposals by the Supervisory Board to the competent election bodies should take these objectives into account. The Supervisory Board should specify target figures for the degree of female representation on the Supervisory Board. The objectives and the status of implementation are to be published in the Corporate Governance Report.
MLP did not follow this recommendation in the current financial year. In its meetings over the last few financial years and again in 2017, the Supervisory Board of MLP AG and, since September 21, 2017, the Supervisory Board of MLP SE has addressed the topic of setting a concrete target for the composition of the Supervisory Board, paying particular attention to diversity, and approved an expertise profile. The Supervisory Board has set itself the target that in the presence of candidates of equal professional and personal suitability, it would seek to fill at least 16.5 percent of the Supervisory Board positions with suitable female members. However, the Supervisory Board does not currently regard the setting of a specific time frame for the implementation of this objective to be appropriate, primarily due to the small number of members of the Supervisory Board as anchored in the Articles of Association. It is therefore also not yet possible to report on any specific implementation steps towards such objectives in the Corporate Governance Report. Nevertheless, as early as in the financial year 2015, the Supervisory Board presented a resolution proposal to the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting to approve the appointment of a woman to the Supervisory Board of the Company. The resolution was subsequently adopted and the target figure was thus achieved.
At the same time, in the financial year 2018 – as in 2017– MLP will thus deviate from this recommendation as the Supervisory Board has not set any concrete target figures but rather sees a subsequent appointment against the background of the candidate’s respective qualification.
Section 5.4.1 (5) Sentence 2 clause 1 (submission of a curriculum vitae along with the candidate proposal)
As per the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code, all candidate proposals are to be submitted to the Annual General Meeting together with a CV that provides information on the relevant knowledge, expertise and experience of the respective candidate.
MLP will deviate from this. MLP discloses all legally required information with its candidate proposals to the Annual General Meeting. Indeed, MLP has already published the CVs of members of the Supervisory Board. However, sufficient clarification has yet to be provided in the legal discussion as to whether the ruling to include a CV with all candidate proposals submitted to the Annual General Meeting applies only to the resolution on election of shareholders' representatives or also employees' representatives and which information specifically needs to be included in the CVs in order to provide information on the respective candidate's knowledge, expertise and experience. In addition to this, including CVs with the candidate proposals on the agenda increases the risk of disputes regarding the election of members to the Supervisory Board. From MLP's perspective, posting the corresponding CVs on the homepage should therefore be seen as sufficient.
MLP therefore declares that it will deviate from this recommendation in future, and consequently also in the financial year 2018.
Wiesloch, December 2017
The Executive Board The Supervisory Board"
In December 2017, the Executive and Supervisory Boards issued the above Declaration of Compliance pursuant to § 161 of the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG) and made it permanently available to shareholders via the company's website. The Declaration of Compliance in the version of December 19, 2017 can also be viewed online at www.mlp-se.com.
You can also find more information on the topic of corporate governance at MLP on the aforementioned homepage.
Responsible and value adding management
By mainly complying with the stipulations of the German Corporate Governance Code (GCGC) in the version of February 7, 2017, MLP continues to reinforce the confidence of its shareholders, clients, employees and other stakeholders in the management of the company. Responsible management geared toward long-term added value is a high priority for us. The Executive and Supervisory Boards ensure that MLP continues to review and develop corporate governance across the Group.
Management and control structure
MLP SE is a European stock corporation that is based in Germany and subject to the European SE provisions, the German SE Implementation Act (SEAG) and German stock corporation law. The company was created on September 21, 2017 as a result of the change in corporate form of MLP AG and the corresponding entry in the Mannheim commercial register. As an SE, the company has a dual management and control structure, comprising an Executive Board and a Supervisory Board. The third corporate body is the Annual General Meeting.
As the management body of an "Aktiengesellschaft" (public limited company), the Executive Board runs the business and is tied to the interests and business principles of the company within the scope of corporation law. The responsibilities and duties of the Executive Board are laid down in the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG), in MLP SE's Articles of Association, as well as in a set of rules of procedures and the schedule of responsibilities of the Executive Board attached to it.
The members of the Executive Board hold joint responsibility for the entire management. Decisions made by the Executive Board are reached during Executive Board meetings held at regular intervals. Resolutions are drafted as ordinary resolutions with majority votes and recorded accordingly.
The members of the Executive Board are Dr. Uwe Schroeder-Wildberg (Chairman), Manfred Bauer and Reinhard Loose.
The Supervisory Board advises and monitors the Executive Board. The responsibilities and duties of the Supervisory Board are derived from the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG), MLP SE's Articles of Association and a set of rules of procedures for the Supervisory Board.
Resolutions of the Supervisory Board are made during meetings convened by the Chairman of the Supervisory Board or on his behalf and require a majority vote. The Supervisory Board is informed of particularly important or urgent projects outside of the regular meetings. Where necessary, resolutions can also take the form of circular resolutions or be passed via telephone. A transcript of each meeting is drafted.
Supervisory Board composition
MLP SE's Articles of Association provide for a Supervisory Board that comprises six members, two of whom are employee representatives. Both the size and the tripartite composition of the Supervisory Board are thereby stipulated in MLP SE's Articles of Association. The members of the Supervisory Board at a dualistically structured SE are generally appointed by the Annual General Meeting (Art. 40 (2) of the SE Regulation). MLP deviates from this with regard to the employees' representatives. The appointment of the employees' representatives on the Supervisory Board is based on a participation agreement that has been agreed between the company and a negotiation committee established for this purpose. Accordingly, employees' representatives are elected directly through elections in the company. The current acting members of the first Supervisory Board at MLP SE are appointed until conclusion of the Annual General Meeting that approves the actions for the first financial year of MLP SE. The members of the Supervisory Board are currently Ms. Tina Müller, Dr. Peter Lütke-Bornefeld (Chairman of the Supervisory Board), Dr. h.c. Manfred Lautenschläger, Dr. Claus-Michael Dill, Mr. Burkhard Schlingermann (employees' representative) and Mr. Alexander Beer (employees' representative).
Based on the recommendations of the GCGC, the Supervisory Board is to stipulate concrete objectives regarding its composition, which, whilst considering the company's specific situation, take into account the company's international operations, any potential conflicts of interest, the number of independent members of the Supervisory Board, an age limit to be specified for members of the Supervisory Board and diversity.
The Supervisory Board has set itself concrete targets for its composition. One item worthy of particular note here is a requirements profile for Supervisory Board candidates, which was passed in the financial year and which summarises the knowledge, skills, professional experience and personal aptitude characteristics necessary for candidates to be considered. In addition to this, appraisals were made regarding diversity and the number of independent members.
You can find further information on the equal participation of women and men in the Supervisory Board in the disclosures on corporate governance practices provided below.
As per the new revisions to § 100 (5) of the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG) that became effective in 2016, members of the Supervisory Board no longer need to meet the personal independence prerequisites due to legal obligations. Instead, the Supervisory Board should comprise what it deems to be an appropriate number of independent members as per Section 5.4.2 of the German Corporate Governance Code (DCGK). Pursuant to § 5.4.1 (4) Sentence 3 of the German Corporate Governance Code (DCGK), however, this Corporate Governance report should also provide information on what the Supervisory Board deems to be an appropriate number of shareholders as independent members of the Supervisory Board and the names of these members. For this reason, the Supervisory Board continues to adhere to the requirement for independence. The Supervisory Board considers itself as already consisting of a suitable number of independent members who have no business or personal relationship with the company or members of the Executive Board which could form grounds for a conflict of interest. Accordingly, in its meeting on December 19, 2017 the Supervisory Board confirmed that Dr. Lütke-Bornefeld, Dr. Claus-Michael Dill, Mrs. Tina Müller are independent members of the Supervisory Board of the shareholders. The Supervisory Board established that Dr. h. c. Lautenschläger is not an independent member of the Supervisory Board under this provision.
In terms of independence, the Supervisory Board works to a strict standard to eliminate any doubt regarding its judgement. Since Dr. h. c. Lautenschläger is a significant shareholder in our company, his independence is at least seen as potentially compromised.
The Supervisory Board has also set itself the additional goal of filling at least 16.5% of Supervisory Board member positions with suitable female members, in the presence of candidates of equal professional and personal suitability. However, the Supervisory Board does not currently regard the setting of a specific time frame for the implementation of this objective to be appropriate, primarily due to the small number of members of the Supervisory Board as anchored in the Articles of Association. Nevertheless, this quota was already reached over the course of the year 2015 with the election of Ms. Müller to the company's Supervisory Board. The Supervisory Board also reviewed the knowledge and experience required of the Supervisory Board members and of the Chairman of the Audit Committee under the German Corporate Governance Code with regard to reporting and internal control procedures. The Chairman of the MLP SE Audit Committee fully complies with these requirements.
Efficiency of the Supervisory Board
In 2017 the Supervisory Board also reviewed the efficiency of its own activities. Particular attention was paid to the efficiency of the procedures in the Supervisory Board, the information flow between the committees and the Supervisory Board and the timeliness and sufficient content of reporting by the Executive Board to the Supervisory Board. Further measures aimed at increasing efficiency were drafted in the course of intensive discussions.
Supervisory Board committees
The Supervisory Board of MLP SE has set up committees in order to improve the effectiveness of its work. The Personnel Committee prepares the resolutions on HR issues concerning Executive Board members with the company. The Audit Committee is responsible for auditing the accounting processes, risk management issues and the auditing system itself, as well as ensuring the independence of the auditors, awarding the audit contract to the auditors and determining the focal points of the audits and agreements on fees. The Committee also discusses the annual financial statements, the consolidated financial statements and the management reports of MLP SE and the MLP Group and submits a recommendation for resolution to the Supervisory Board. In the financial year 2016, the Supervisory Board of MLP AG already intensively dealt with the new legislation of EU Directive 2014/56/EU regarding account auditing, as well as Germany's audit reform legislation (AReG). It adapted procedures to the new legal regulations, so that the stipulations of both the Directive and Germany's audit reform legislation (AReG) can be met. The Supervisory Board has also formed a Nomination Committee, composed exclusively of shareholder representatives, that proposes suitable Supervisory Board candidates for recommendation to the Annual General Meeting and addresses the requirements that these candidates must meet. The members of the Personnel Committee are Ms. Tina Müller, Dr. Peter Lütke-Bornefeld (Chairman of the Personnel Committee) and Mr. Burkhard Schlingermann. The Audit Committee comprises Dr. Claus-Michael Dill (Chairman of the Audit Committee), Dr. h.c. Manfred Lautenschläger, Dr. Peter Lütke-Bornefeld and Mr. Alexander Beer. The Nomination Committee comprises Ms. Tina Müller, Dr. Peter Lütke-Bornefeld (Chairman of the Nomination Committee), Dr. h.c. Manfred Lautenschläger and Dr. Claus-Michael Dill.
Corporate governance in the Supervisory Board
In 2017, the Executive and Supervisory Boards of MLP SE again dealt intensively with the German Corporate Governance Code and further new legislation significant to the work performed by the Supervisory Board and its committees. The Code, and its amendments passed on February 7, 2017, were the object of intensive discussions by the Supervisory Board. Stipulations were analysed and corresponding adjustments to the internal regulations and procedures followed by the Supervisory Board were either proposed or submitted for verification.
Cooperation between Executive Board and Supervisory Board
Intensive dialogue between the Executive and Supervisory Boards forms the basis of transparent and responsible company management. The Executive Board of MLP SE provides the Supervisory Board with regular, timely and comprehensive information on the Group’s position, including information on its risk situation, risk management and compliance. The Supervisory Board is informed of particularly important or urgent projects outside of the regular meetings. Furthermore, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board meets with the Executive Board on a regular basis to discuss specific issues. The Chairman of the Supervisory Board informs the other members of the Supervisory Board in detail about the content of his meetings with the Executive Board. The Supervisory Board discussed the Group's corporate planning and plans for strategic growth with the Executive Board.
Significant legal transactions by the Executive Board require the consent of the Supervisory Board. A set of rules of procedures issued by the Supervisory Board in particular governs the distribution of business, powers of approval outside the Articles of Association and co-operation with the Executive Board. Further details on the co-operation between Executive Board and Supervisory Board can be found in the report by the Supervisory Board.
Further disclosures on the Supervisory Board's activities can be found in the report by the Supervisory Board.
Shareholdings of members of the Executive and Supervisory Boards as of the balance sheet date:
As of December 31, 2017, the shares held by the members of the company's Executive and Supervisory Boards were distributed as follows:
Pursuant to Art. 19 of the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR), persons assuming executive positions at the issuer of shares must notify the issuer and the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) of transactions in financial instruments. This obligation also applies to natural persons and legal entities that are closely linked to such a person assuming an executive position.
Transactions up to a total value of € 5,000 per calendar year are exempt from the notification requirement.
No transactions pursuant to Art. 19 of the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) were reported to us in the financial year 2017. Transactions from previous years can be viewed on our website at www.mlp-se.com.
The trust of our clients, shareholders and business partners in our capacity to act professionally and responsibly forms the basis of our business operations. Compliance with all relevant legislation and capital market regulations represents the foundation of our business activities and an integral part of our corporate culture. Violations against applicable legislation and regulations not only have the potential to lead to legal disputes and financial losses, but can also have a negative effect on our Group's reputation. The Executive Board at MLP ensures Group-wide compliance with legal provisions and internal company guidelines, while also guaranteeing both a trusting and transparent system of corporate governance.
The basic principles of abidance to laws, integrity and economically successful business practices are firmly anchored in our internal compliance guidelines. Our compliance activities are based on a Group-wide compliance strategy, which is specifically designed with preventive measures to avoid risks that could arise from non-compliance with applicable legislation, internal standards and processes. The primary focus here is on compliance with the key legal provisions and internal company directives, as well as in particular preventing illegal practices, such as insider trading, money laundering, fraud or any other criminal conduct. In the interests of our clients, shareholders and employees, the Compliance department supports and advises the Executive Board in establishing uniform standards for all Group companies. Taking into account the constantly changing regulatory requirements and market conditions, Compliance steers the continuous further development of our internal behavioural standards and monitors implementation of all applicable requirements.
On the basis of a Group-wide risk analysis, the Compliance department identifies, analyses and evaluates the compliance risks relevant to MLP's business operations. Compliance also collaborates with the specialist departments responsible for developing risk-reducing measures and continuously monitors their effectiveness in our day-to-day business.
Regular training sessions, during which all employees of the MLP Group familiarise themselves with the key regulations as a way of preventing any accidental infractions while also providing support in applying our compliance guidelines, represent an important element of our risk prevention measures. These in particular include web-based training events on market abuse legislation, securities compliance, data and consumer protection as well as the prevention of money laundering, financing of terrorist activities and criminal conduct. Compliance is also available to all employees as a point of contact for reporting anything suspicious with regard to criminal activities or violations against our compliance regulations. Any violations determined are investigated immediately, comprehensively clarified and then used to eliminate any weaknesses identified. The Executive Board and Supervisory Board are regularly informed of all relevant actions and measures taken by the Compliance department.
The Compliance Policy in the MLP Group also sets out the measures for insider trading prevention and describes the internal guidelines for execution of employee transactions. The compliance guidelines also ensure that confidential information is handled responsibly at MLP and define standards for advising and supporting our clients, as well as the policy on giving and accepting invitations and gifts. To prevent any impairment of client interests, we have defined policies regarding the avoidance and monitoring of conflicts of interest and the acceptance and granting of benefits. These policies are regularly reviewed and adapted to changing requirements.
Corporate management practices
Defined company values
MLP defined its core values; a process in which a large number of employees and consultants were involved. "Performance" and "Trust" were identified as values which the corporate mission relies and builds on. You can find details on our corporate mission on our homepage at www.mlp-se.com. In a further step, the following management principles were then derived from this for MLP.
- are committed to the interests of MLP clients,
- live out the core values of "Performance" and "Trust",
- implement agreed targets and decisions consistently,
- are proactive in shaping the future,
- work together openly as team players,
- ensure systematic development of managers and staff.
In accordance with the recommendation of the Corporate Governance Code in Section 4.1.5., the Executive Board has further reinforced its efforts to secure diversity when filling management positions. It will also continue to test the effectiveness of the adopted measures in the financial year 2018 and either make any changes deemed necessary or implement additional measures to ensure that women are given appropriate consideration at the management levels of the company, taking into account the company's specific situation.
An explanation of the business and risk strategy as well as the risk management system can be found in the chapter "Risk and opportunity report" of the Annual Report.
Stipulations for promoting equal participation of women in management positions pursuant to § 76 (4) and § 111 (5) of the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG)
The legislation on equal participation of women and men in management positions came into force on May 1, 2015. It stipulates an obligation to specify targets for members of supervisory and executive boards, as well as the two upper management levels, although it does not define an actual minimum target. Insofar as the percentage of women is below 30%, the targets must then not fall below the percentage reached. The deadline for achievement of the first targets was fixed for June 30, 2017. After that deadlines can be up to five years. The targets and deadlines are to be specified in concrete terms. In addition to this, it must be stated whether the specified targets have been achieved and, if not, information as to the reasons must be specified.
MLP places great emphasis on promoting women and helping employees combine a career with a family. The company has therefore already made this topic a focus over the last few years and implemented various measures to promote women into management positions. The concept for example includes measures such as family-friendly meeting arrangements or flexible workplace designs. As a sign of its public commitment to diversity, MLP signed the Diversity Charter in 2014. To help staff more effectively combine their career with a family, MLP opened a parent & child office in February 2015 to provide parents that are struggling to find childcare with the option of taking their children to work with them.
Based on the experience gained when implementing the individual measures, the MLP Group will stick to the targets already achieved for management levels and thereby comply with the minimum legal requirements. In addition to this, MLP has set internal rules for the composition of its Executive Board and Supervisory Board. These stipulate a 25% proportion of women, assuming equal personal and professional aptitude.
MLP SE has met this quota on the shareholder side of the Supervisory Board. This leads to a quota of 16.66% for the entire Supervisory Board. Alongside the three-member Executive Board and one first level manager, as a holding company MLP SE does not employ any other managers and currently no woman holds any of these positions. The objectives for the Supervisory Board and Executive Board at MLP Finanzdienstleistungen AG are the same as those at MLP SE. As a result of the demerger to create MLP Finanzberatung SE and MLP Banking AG, there are now two separate legal entities, each with a dedicated Supervisory Board and the following quotas on the shareholder side: MLP Banking AG 25% and MLP Finanzberatung SE 0%. In the 2017 financial year, the quotas for the first management level below the Executive Board were 50% at MLP Banking AG and 5.26% at MLP Finanzberatung SE. For the second management level below the Executive Board, the quotas were 33.33% and 8.11% respectively. With measures such as the Top Talents Programme for targeted development of junior staff, as well as strengthening the role of the equal opportunities officer, MLP will continue to consistently pursue the goal of increasing the number of women in management positions.
Equal pay for women and men doing the same or equivalent work as per the German Transparency of Remuneration Act (EntgTranspG)
The Transparency of Remuneration Act (EntgTranspG) came into force on July 6, 2017 to counteract wage differences between women and men doing the same or equivalent work. The legislation promotes disclosure of company remuneration systems and prescribes an individual right to information regarding in-house remuneration structures for staff at enterprises with more than 200 employees. The right to information can be asserted for the first time by employees at MLP Finanzberatung SE from January 6, 2018.
A "remuneration system" works agreement, which applies to MLP SE, MLP Banking AG and MLP Finanzberatung SE, was concluded in December 2015 as the basis for establishing improved remuneration transparency at MLP. This agreement was then used to assess and subsequently assign each job type to a salary range. The awarding of salaries for new recruitments is based on this assignment, which also forms the basis for salary adjustments together with the concepts of professional experience and performance. Private employers that generally have more than 500 employees are called upon to use operational audit procedures to regularly review the application of their remuneration systems and the various remuneration components paid for compliance with the equal pay requirement in the meaning of this legislation. MLP has decided to perform these audits for MLP SE, MLP Banking AG and MLP Finanzberatung SE.
For the first time in 2018 a report on the current status and the provisions determined to establish equal pay and equality will be included with the management report as an appendix and also published in the Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger).
By law, the shareholders are involved in all fundamentally important decisions at MLP SE, such as decisions on amendments to the Articles of Association and the issue of new shares. In order to help shareholders assert their rights, MLP offers them the option of having their voting rights exercised in writing by non-discretionary proxies appointed by the company or by postal vote. We report on the main content of the Annual General Meeting on our website at www.mlp-se.com, where the Chairman’s speech can also be accessed online.
Provision of information to all target groups
We also use the internet in order to provide comprehensive and timely information on the company’s position and significant changes in a way that ensures all stakeholders are treated equally. We provide access to both German and English versions of annual and quarterly reports, press releases, conference calls and presentations on our homepage at www.mlp-se.com. Our financial calendar includes important events and dates for investors. Analysts’ and media conferences are held at least once a year. In accordance with legal provisions, ad-hoc notices are published on our website, where we also provide comprehensive information on corporate governance at MLP. We provide access to our Declaration of Compliance on our homepage for at least five years.
Accounting and audit
Group accounting is performed in line with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft, Berlin, was appointed as auditor by the Annual General Meeting and has audited the 2017 consolidated financial statements. The Supervisory Board gave its assurance that the relations existing between the auditors and MLP or its governing bodies give no cause for doubting the independence of the auditor. The Supervisory Board at MLP SE also discusses the annual and consolidated financial statements.
NON-FINANCIAL ASPECTS OF BUSINESS ACTIVITIES
Within the scope of our 2017 Sustainability Report, we report on the non-financial aspects of our business activities. The focuses of our sustainability reporting in terms of content result from the materiality analysis performed in 2017, on the basis of which we identified the key aspects for our company.
To ensure our sustainability activities have a comparable and transparent framework at all times, we have aligned our reporting with the reporting standard of the German Sustainability Code (DNK). Please refer to the Declaration of Compliance with the German Sustainability Code for further information and details on our sustainability management. We publish this Declaration of Compliance, as well as our sustainability report on our website at https://mlp-se.com/company-profile/sustainability. You can also find the sustainability report as part of this Annual Report.