BERLIN Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) shareholders should not ratify the actions of its top executives and supervisory board members for last year because of the legal uncertainties surrounding the bank, shareholder advisory firm Glass Lewis said on Friday.
Votes to ratify the decisions of company bosses are customary in Germany as a way for shareholders to express their confidence in their leadership, although they do not release individuals from liability for their actions.
While transparency at Germany's biggest bank has improved under CEO John Cryan, the scale and scope of investigations and proceedings in which it has been - and continues to be - involved "may be indicative of widespread governance failures in the company and cast doubt on the performance of the management and supervisory boards," Glass Lewis said in a report.
Many investment funds from the United States and Britain follow the recommendation of advisory firms such as Glass Lewis at shareholder meetings.
Deutsche Bank's annual shareholder meeting is on May 18.
Glass Lewis criticised plans by Deutsche Bank for shareholders to vote on the actions of the executive and supervisory board collectively, rather than permitting ballots on individual members.
"We strongly feel that shareholders are likely to have mixed views on which management board members they can confidently ratify for the past fiscal year," it said.
Glass Lewis' recommendations were first reported by German business newspaper Handelsblatt.
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Mark Potter)