On Governance: 2019 Proxy Season was Huge for E&S Proposals

From the Conference Board: For the third year in a row, environmental and social (E&S) proposals are most of all shareholder proposals filed (political spending resolutions have increased in advance of the 2020 presidential elections). Voluntary withdrawals of shareholder proposals have been increasing and in 2019 close to half of E&S proposals were withdrawn after…

Big US sustainable funds fail to support ESG shareholder proposals | Financial Times

Big US fund managers that have promoted their credentials in tackling sustainability issues have done little to support environmental and social shareholder proposals, their voting records reveal. During the 2019 shareholder voting season, funds labelled by BlackRock, JPMorgan Asset Management and Vanguard as sustainable frequently sided with a company’s management and against shareholder proposals on…

SEC to Give Oral No-Action Letters

The SEC has announced that it will not put all of its rulings on shareholder proposals in writing. Some rulings will be oral only. Needless to say, since the Code of Hammurabi in ancient Mesopotamia, the idea has been that it is a good thing to have the rules in writing so that everyone knows…

SEC Investor Advisory Committee Recommendations on Proxy Plumbing

The SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee, established under Section 911 of Dodd-Frank (membership listed below), has submitted recommendations on improving the byzantine and jury-rigged proxy plumbing system. Their summary:  The SEC should require end-to-end vote confirmations to end-users of the proxy system, potentially commencing with a pilot involving the largest companies;  The SEC should…

How Pension Funds Can Survive Volatile Markets | Newsmax.com

Former CalPERS trustee Dana Hollinger, writing with Jackson Eisenpresser, tells pension fund managers to begin with making sure they have enough liquidity for their projected payouts, and then think about alpha. Private-market returns have never been more critical in meeting future liabilities. The yield must come from real assets, infrastructure, and private credit and extending…

How an Agency You’ve Never Heard of Is Leaving the Economy at Risk

David Hilzenrath and Nicholas Trevino of the Project on Government Oversight have written a monumentally important investigative report on the failure of the agency set up following the Enron/WorldCom/MCI/HealthSouth and other accounting scandals to take exactly the actions it was designed for. There is a long Washington tradition of capture of regulatory agencies by industry,…

ESG era: how sustainable investing is entering the mainstream

According to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, $23 trillion was being responsibly managed as of 2016, up 25 per cent from 2014.  Nearly two thirds of that ($15 trillion) was negative or exclusionary screening, with 45 per cent ($10.4 trillion) in ESG integration strategies. Impact investing – investing in a company with a view to…