Agenda – Investors Demand ‘Say on Climate’ Vote

As investors grow increasingly vocal on ESG issues, some are now requesting regular advisory votes on companies’ climate change plans. At least seven North American companies face shareholder proposals for the 2021 proxy season. Meanwhile, some companies, including Moody’s and Unilever, have already adopted a mechanism for shareholders to give their thumbs-up, or down, on…

Four Spots Biden Is Likely to Reverse SEC Deregulation

In a Biden administration, a reconstituted SEC led by a Democratic chair and consisting of a Democratic majority will most likely launch an active rulemaking agenda, roll back Trump-era regulations, and step up its enforcement and inspections programs. Here are the four places to look first as the SEC retires the Commission’s current deregulatory approach….

It is Not Just Small Investors Who Will Be Silenced Thanks to SEC’s New Rules – Pro Market

Shareholder proposals have become a key instrument of shareholder voice in corporate America. Yet recent rule changes passed by the SEC—increasing the barriers to shareholder proposal submission—risk severely muting that voice. Not only does this harm shareholders, but the muting of shareholders’ voice has detrimental impacts to both stakeholders and our overall corporate governance system…With…

Five myths about shareholders — Christopher Marquis

Cornell professor Christopher Marquis writes this week’s “Five Myths” column in The Washington Post. We don’t agree with all of his points; most important, we believe that there is no trade-off of profitability in managing risk by incorporating sustainability concerns, and we note that most American workers are “small shareholders” via retirement plans, 401(k)s, or…

Supplemental Comment Letter to SEC on Shareholder Proposals

A group of investors has filed a supplemental comment with the SEC asking for withdrawal of the proposed rule restricting shareholder proposals. The full comment is below. An excerpt: This evidence demonstrates that the economic harm that the amendments could cause if they were finalized far outweighs the de minimis purported benefits cited in the…

Dark Money: It’s Time for Boards and Institutional Investors to Act on Racial Justice

Bruce Freed of The Center for Political Accountability and Eleanor Bloxham of The Value Alliance have an important op-ed in Barron’s about the long-standing opposition of the Big 3 institutional investors – BlackRock, Vanguard and Fidelity — to shareholder resolutions calling for disclosure of political disclosure and the connection to corporate political spending that has…

Shareholder Proposals Shaking Up Shareholder Say

First, shareholder power related proposals in American companies are essentially closing the gap in substantive shareholder power that existed between the United States and Europe. In the past fifteen years, shareholders have successfully made proposals in individual American corporations to de-stagger the board, to elect directors by majority instead of plurality vote, to allow shareholders…

A Successful Season for SASB-Based Shareholder Resolutions

Timed to the 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) season, shareholder advocacy non-profit As You Sow filed seven shareholder resolutions, on behalf of individual proponents, that specifically requested material disclosure compliant with environmental and social corporate reporting standards published by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB). SASB standards are explicitly designed to reflect financially material aspects…