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 Voluntary withdrawals of shareholder proposals have been increasing and in 2019 close to half of E&S proposals were withdrawn after…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 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…

Six Reasons We Don’t Trust the New “Stakeholder” Promise from the Business Roundtable

Originally published on the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation: A new statement from the Business Roundtable commits to stakeholder interests instead of making the primary purpose of the company shareholder value. Long-term shareholders are increasingly committed to explicitly ESG investing, which values stakeholder interests as a way to minimize investment…

Will Comp Committees Factor in ESG?

At the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, Don Delves, Robert Newbury, Ryan Resch, of compensation consultants Willis Towers Watson write about efforts to factor in ESG goals in incentive compensation. Since we have said that our evaluation of the new focus on stakeholders will depend in part on how pay…

GOP Lobbyists Helping U.S. Companies Exploit the Amazon

The Intercept has an excellent expose of the role of US lobbyists in promoting the catastrophic destruction of the Amazonian rainforest. This summer, fires are being used to clear wide swaths of the Amazon at an unprecedented rate. One-fifth of the Amazon has already been destroyed in the past 50 years; further industrialization of the rainforest risks destroying…