Calpers Ups Pressure on Companies Over Executive Pay, Lack of Diversity 

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System voted against pay programs this year at 43 percent of the 2,145 U.S. public firms it owns stakes in, up from 18 percent in 2017, the system said Monday. One reason is closer scrutiny, said Simiso Nzima, investment director for corporate governance. In past years some firms may have…

Buyback Binge That’s Besting Capex Pays Off Big (FOR NOW) in U.S. Stocks

The biggest use of cash among S&P 500 companies is making their public footprints smaller — a strategy that’s paid dividends in 2018.According to Goldman Sachs, aggregate share repurchases (or buybacks) rose by nearly 50 percent to $384 billion in the first half of 2018. That tops the $341 billion spent on capital expenditures, which…

Gender quotas make an impact in the boardroom

Ceramics manufacturer Villeroy & Boch has been around since 1748, but it recently faced a very contemporary problem. The company was forced to leave a position on its supervisory board vacant for several months, because it was unable to find a qualified female candidate.Franziska Giffey, Germany’s minister of family affairs, said Villeroy & Boch’s problem…

More institutional investors putting money on ESG – Pensions & Investments

ESG investing is growing in the U.S. among institutional investors, with issues such as climate change, gender diversity and weapons distribution garnering significant attention.Institutional assets invested under environmental, social and governance principles in the U.S. totaled $4.73 trillion at the start of 2016, a 16.9% increase from 2014, according to the U.S. SIF Foundation, Washington,…

SEC Rescinds Two Proxy Advisory Firm Letters

“Sentence first, verdict afterwards!” shouts the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland.  And apparently it is also what SEC Chairman Jay Clayton is doing in rescinding two 2004 proxy advisory firm letters BEFORE any testimony, comments, or fact-finding in the upcoming roundtable on the proxy system.  “The staff is providing this notice of withdrawal…

Can Shareholders Make Guns and Gun Companies Safer?

VEA Vice Chair Nell Minow writes on Medium: In May, I wrote about shareholder initiatives at gun manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Company to improve the board of directors and get better information about safety measures and mitigation of harm associated with company products, including efforts to improve gun safety and assessment of the corporate reputational…

Main Street Investors Coalition: Comes Sort of Clean and Also Does Not

Those rascals at the fake dark money front group Main Street Investors Coalition are at it again. Just to recap, this is the CEO-funded organization that has no relationship whatsoever to Main Street or investors and the only coalition it represents is the National Association of Manufacturers members and other corporations who provide its funding….

Indexed Investments and “The Problem of Twelve”

John Coates has a thoughtful paper on the legal and economic challenges of “the problem of twelve,” the prospect of a majority of shares in public companies being managed by just twelve entities, in effect twelve people. [T]he rise of indexing presents a sharp, general, political challenge to corporate law. The prospect of twelve people…

Trump and Warren are Both Wrong

Jesse Fried says that Senator Warren and President Trump both want to weaken shareholder oversight, Senator Warren with her legislative proposal and President Trump in asking the SEC to review elimination of quarterly reporting: In the absence of any solid evidence that shareholders harm firms, the case for weakening investors has been based on myths,…