As a foreign company with shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), we comply with all relevant corporate governance standards applicable to foreign private issuers.
Differences from corporate governance standards relevant to US-listed companies
According to the NYSE listing standards on corporate governance, foreign private issuers are required to disclose any significant ways in which their corporate governance practices differ from those that have to be followed by domestic companies. These differences are discussed in the following paragraphs.
Responsibility of the Audit Committee with regard to independent auditors
Our Audit Committee is responsible for the compensation, retention and oversight of the independent auditors. It assesses the performance and qualification of the external auditors and submits its proposal for appointment, reappointment or removal of the independent auditors to the full BoD. As required by the Swiss Code of Obligations, the BoD then submits its proposal to the shareholders for their vote at the Annual General Meeting (AGM). Under NYSE standards, the Audit Committee is also responsible for the appointment of the independent auditors.
Discussion of risk assessment and risk management policies by the Risk Committee
In accordance with the respective Organization Regulations of UBS Group AG and UBS AG, the Risk Committee instead of the Audit Committee oversees our risk principles and risk capacity on behalf of the BoD. The Risk Committee is responsible for monitoring our adherence to those risk principles and for monitoring whether business divisions and control units maintain appropriate systems of risk management and control.
Supervision of the internal audit function
The Chairman of the BoD (Chairman) and the Audit Committee share the supervisory responsibility and authority with respect to the internal audit function. Under NYSE standards, only the Audit Committee supervises the internal audit function.
Responsibility of the Compensation Committee for performance evaluations of senior management of UBS Group AG
Under NYSE standards, it is the responsibility of the Compensation Committee to evaluate senior management performance and determine and approve, as a committee or together with the other independent directors, its compensation. In line with Swiss law, our Compensation Committee, together with the BoD, proposes for shareholder approval at the AGM the maximum aggregate amount of compensation for the BoD, the maximum aggregate amount of fixed compensation for the Group Executive Board (GEB) and the aggregate amount of variable compensation for the GEB. The shareholders elect the members of the Compensation Committee at the AGM.
Proxy statement reports of the Audit Committee and the Compensation Committee
NYSE listing standards would require the aforementioned committees to submit their reports directly to shareholders. However, under Swiss law, all our reports addressed to shareholders, including those from the aforementioned committees, are provided and approved by the BoD, which has ultimate responsibility to the shareholders.
Shareholders' votes on Equity Compensation Plans
While the NYSE standards would require shareholder approval for the establishment of and material revisions to all equity compensation plans, Swiss law authorizes the BoD to approve compensation plans. Swiss companies determine the nature and components of capital in their articles of association, and each increase in capital requires shareholder approval. This means that shareholder approval is mandatory if equity-based compensation plans require an increase in capital. No shareholder approval is required if shares for such plans are purchased in the market.