The Corporate Campaign Against Pandemic Protections

The Daily Poster reports on corporate opposition to basic protections for workers with a link to the 13-page comment filed by the Chamber of Commerce on behalf of 51 trade associations. While the White House and many economists have argued that the vaccine mandate will “promote a faster and stronger economic recovery,” powerful business interests…

Which Corporations Are Funding Politicians Who Aided the Insurrection?

A year ago, a number of corporations promised not to make contributions to elected officials who supported the insurrection. Many promised not to support state politicians behind voter suppression. Some reneged on their promises. Others were silent. And none made significant public changes to funding through harder-to-track intermediaries like the Chamber of Commerce, which had…

Agenda – Investors Share Plans for Next Proxy Season’s ESG Blitz

After a rousing engagement season this fall, investors and other governance observers are anticipating robust support for environmental, social and governance issues at next year’s annual meetings. Shareholders are focusing more keenly on environmental and social issues in engagement sessions than ever before, according to Agenda’s most recent reader survey. As investors zero in on…

The Most Overpaid and Underpaid Boards (Jan. 4)

Agenda’s study of the most overpaid and underpaid boards includes repeats in both categories. Some of the explanations are illuminating: At Goldman, total comp for directors actually decreased in 2020 to a flat $450,000 per director, from $575,000 in 2019. Of course, the change was a concession that Goldman’s board made this year to settle…

SEC Resets the Shareholder Proposal Process

Sanford Lewis of the Shareholder Rights Group, has an excellent article on the SEC’s new guidance broadening the scope of (advisory) shareholder proposals, with a detailed history to provide context. His conclusion: Ultimately, the ability of a shareholder proposal to produce beneficial change at a corporation is grounded in a fundamental test—whether shareholders vote in…

Less Diversity On Boards Leads to More CEO Overpayment

A new report from ISS finds that CEO pay plans that get the highest “no” votes from shareholders are more likely to be less diverse. In other words, boards with more diversity are less likely to proposed CEO pay plans that shareholders deem excessive. Interestingly, it was not just high-profile, large companies that were the…

Great News! William Birdthistle Becomes SEC Director of Division of Investment Management

We are delighted to hear that Professor William Birdthistle of the Chicago-Kent College of Law has been appointed to be Director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management. The Division oversees regulatory policy for investment advisers and investment companies, including mutual funds and other investment products and services relied upon by retail investors. Professor Birdthistle…

VEA Vice Chair Nell Minow Comments on SEC’s Proposed Proxy Advisor Rule

VEA Vice Chair Nell Minow has submitted a comment to the SEC on its proposed rule about proxy advisory firms. The comment is attached in full below. Some excerpts: My most important point: There is no justification for any regulation of proxy advisors beyond the rules already in place. The claims by issuers (and their fake,…

Business Week is Shocked to Discover that ESG Is Not All Figured Out Yet

In an article titled “The ESG Mirage,” Bloomberg Businessweek discovers that ESG is complicated. As we have consistently pointed out, the interest in and need for ESG data is greatly in excess of the capacity to provide it and the result has been opportunistic and cynical exploitation of that gap. We note that ESG data…