New blood at Wall Street’s old guard rattles Corporate America

This year marks a sea change as top funds throw more of their weight behind investor challenges to companies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and put companies on notice by often choosing to publicize how and why they voted, a Reuters review of voting results and fund firms’ new disclosures shows.

A record 14 S&P 500 companies had more than 50% of investors reject their executive pay packages as of June 1, according to corporate governance consultant ISS Corporate Solutions.

Investors voted down a total of 12 CEO pay plans in the entirety of 2020. About 28% of S&P 500 companies have not yet held their annual meetings this year. This trend culminated in the three largest index fund firms – BlackRock Inc, State Street Corp and Vanguard Group – disclosing last week they had backed a successful board challenge against Exxon Mobil Corp, one of their biggest holdings, over dissatisfaction with its efforts to diversify away from fossil fuels.

New blood at Wall Street’s old guard rattles Corporate America

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