Financial Services Committee Hearing on Sustainability and Competitiveness

The Congressional Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets held a hearing on”Building a Sustainable and Competitive Economy: An Examination of Proposals to Improve Environmental, Social, and Governance Disclosures.” Note at 55:45 Representative Vargas asks former SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins if he believes climate change is real and Atkins dissembles, despite the fact that…

Report: Shareholder Activism Jan-June 2019

Activist Insight on Shareholder Activism and Engagement in the first half of 2019: The first six months of 2019 have provided plenty of interesting activist activity in what seems like a longer proxy season than last year’s. Late-season fights at HomeStreet and EQT (this month’s campaign in focus) have kept us on our toes, as…

Japan: One Step Forward on Corporate Governance But More Steps Ahead

The introduction of both a Stewardship Code in 2014 and a Corporate Governance Code a year later in Japan has pushed investors to focus more on the governance standards of the companies they’re invested in and forced companies to make changes – particularly when it comes to appointing independent directors to the board. But accusations…

Can Blue Bonds Save the Oceans?

Can we financially engineer our way out of climate change and polluted oceans? Maybe not, but financial innovation is emerging as a popular tool to help in the race to protect the planet. Last year, the market for “green bonds,” a decade-old asset class that funds environmentally friendly projects, reached a record $163.7 billion, up…

Silicon Valley eyes plan to reward long term shareholders | Financial Times

A new stock exchange wants to encourage long-term investors with long-term investment horizons by giving them increased voting power as they continue to hold the stock. We saw how this can go off the rails back in the 1980’s when a company rescinded the additional voting power just before Gamco’s shares were about to qualify….

Bank of America Will Stop Lending to Private-Prison Firms – Bloomberg

Bank of America Corp., the second-biggest U.S. bank, will stop lending to companies that run private prisons and detention centers.“We have decided to exit the relationship’’ with companies that provide prison and immigration-detention services, Vice Chairman Anne Finucane said Wednesday in an interview. “We’ve done our due diligence that we said we would do at…

WSJ: Giant Investors Are Coming After One of Wall Street’s Cash Cows

Liz Hoffman and Geoffrey Rogow write about direct contact between the largest investors and their portfolio companies in the Wall Street Journal. While it applies to the functions related to research and deals usually undertaken by financial intermediaries, it is likely to have an impact on governance and ESG-related engagement as well. Wall Street’s role…