The Role of Long-Term Shareholder Voice

From Benjamin Colton, Global Head of Asset Stewardship, and Ryan Nowicki, Assistant Vice President of Asset Stewardship at State Street Global Advisors. As a long-term investor, representing quasi-permanent capital for companies held in our clients’ index portfolios, we are uniquely positioned and incentivized to encourage portfolio companies to consider long-term risks and opportunities in order to maximize…

Preparing for the 2023 Proxy Season in the Era of Universal Proxy

The best preparation for any proxy contest occurs in peacetime, and companies should continue to build relationships and credibility with their investors in the context of their ongoing engagement meetings with investors for the benefit of all board members. Given the limited opportunities for directors to meet with investor stewardship teams during the year, companies…

10 Reasons Why ESG Won’t Be Stopped | Morningstar

This important article by Leslie Norton gives 10 reasons that ESG is a permanent part of assessing investment risk and return, but the most significant is the first. Risk is a key element of investing, and for fiduciaries, assessing it has become critical. Augmenting traditional investment analysis with ESG information provides a more complete information…

Prepare for a New Republican War on “Woke” Capital | The New Republic

Representative Andy Barr, a Kentucky Republican, promises that ESG “will be one of the major focuses of oversight of a Republican majority” on the House Financial Services Committee. He’s probably right (though it should be noted that Barr is not ranking on the committee and that the next chairman will likely be North Carolina Republican…

SEC Proxy Firm Rules Face New Legal Threat After Tech Glitch

The SEC is facing new legal concerns over easing Trump-era curbs on proxy advisory firms after a computer problem prevented the agency from receiving public feedback on several rules under consideration.The US Chamber of Commerce recently asked the Securities and Exchange Commission for any documentation it has about whether the glitch affected the proxy rollback,…

Private equity firms tried to shoplift $4 billion from Albertsons before selling it to Kroger, until a judge stopped them — for now

In Slate,  Moe Tkackik has an excellent analysis if the proposed Albertsons/Kroger merger, what he calls our “cash-extractive economy.” A judge has paused the deal, which would divert $4 billion from the companies to the private equity partners, [T]he current norm [is] that views every realm of commercial activity as first and foremost a vehicle…

SEC Orders Enhanced Reporting of Proxy Votes By Investment Managers

Statement by Commissioner Caroline A. Crenshaw on the SEC’s updated proxy vote disclosure rules: Commission rules often focus on corporate transparency and helping investors understand how their money – their ownership stake of U.S. companies – is used. Today’s rule does just that. When the Commission adopted Form N-PX in 2003, it stated that investors…

BlackRock Is Getting Used to Being in the ESG Crossfire – Bloomberg

As firms led by BlackRock face increasing criticism from America’s right wing, they’re also hearing claims of greenwashing from progressives. New York City Comptroller Brad Lander wrote in September to BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink, saying the Big Apple was “ re-assessing” its business with the firm because it isn’t doing enough to push corporations to do…

Anti-ESG Shareholder Proposal at Microsoft

Prepare for even more Trojan horse shareholder proposals from “anti-woke” sources. Microsoft, like other household name companies, attracts a lot of shareholder proposals, and this year’s include inclusive hiring of formerly incarcerated candidates, and reports “assessing how the Company’s 401(k) retirement funds manage the growing systemic risk to the economy created by investing retirement plan…