RiskMetricsRiskMetrics (through ISS Governance Services) is a leader in corporate governance data. IRRC was initially the data provider for WRDS. IRRC, however, was acquired by ISS in 2005. This acquisition did not initially affect the data provided through WRDS, but that changed in 2007 when RiskMetrics changed the methodology to collect data to follow ISS specifications. Also, the new methodology does not collect all the variables needed to create the Governance Index (GIndex).
As a consequence, beginning with data for 2007, WRDS keeps the old IRRC-methodology data (Legacy version) separated from the GCQ type of data.
RiskMetrics delivers to data for the new methodology to WRDS in four datasets identified as: RiskMetrics Group Historical Governance, Historical Directors data, Voting Results data, and Shareholder Proposal data.
The Governance Legacy set, formerly known as the IRRC Takeover Defense database, was an important element in the article:
Gompers, Paul A., Andrew Metrick, and Joy L. Ishii, Corporate Governance and Equity Prices, The Quarterly Journal of Economics 118(1), February 2003.
The Directors Data includes a range of variables related to individual board directors (e.g., name, age, tenure, gender, committee memberships, independence classification, primary employer and title, number of other public company boards serving on, shares owned, etc.). This data collection began in 1996 and is updated annually. The current universe is the S&P 1500 companies, which has continued since 1996, although in earlier years the data was captured for a few hundred additional large-cap companies as well.
Voting Results Data, including (for years 1997 through 2006) all governance shareholder proposals and all non-routine management proposals (i.e., excluding director election and auditor ratification) for which we obtained vote results. This company universe includes all S&P 1,500 companies (as well as approximately 400-500 additional widely held companies in some years), generally covering between 900 and 1,200 companies each year (approximately 2,000+ proposals captured each year). This data set will NOT be further updated at this time.
Shareholder Proposal Data (governance and social responsibility) is available from 1997. This includes proposals that came to a vote as well as those that did not (e.g., because they were withdrawn by the proponent or allowed to be omitted from the proxy by the SEC). Variables include the lead filer of the proposal, the meeting date, and outcome; some fields are not complete every year for every company, but the vast majority of meeting dates are present. This data set will be updated each year.