Fidelity Votes No on GE Pay

Some Fidelity Investments funds voted this spring to oppose the compensation received by General Electric Co. CEO John Flannery and other top GE executives, according to regulatory filings published last week…. Fidelity was in the minority on the pay question. Among GE shareholders, “yes” votes outnumbered “no” votes by a more than 10-to-1 margin. Boston…

In Which We Hear (Indirectly) from Main Street Investors Coalition and Get a Surprising Claim About Their Views on Climate Change

When our post on the SEC Proxy Roundtable was reprinted on the Conference Board’s corporate governance blog, it elicited a response from Main Street Investors Coalition advisory board member Bernard Sharfman, who challenged our assertion that the corporate-funded fake front group led by a former energy industry lobbyist is a climate change denier. We have…

SEC’s New Roundtable on the Proxy Process

  The SEC is scheduling another roundtable on proxy voting — we note the inclusion of matters suggesting the influence of the corporate-funded, lobbyist-led, climate change denying Main Street Investors Coalition, which makes us concerned that the goal of this effort is suppression of votes by institutional investors. The SEC statement: Chairman Jay Clayton July…

The Bogus “Main Street Investors” Group Digs in Deeper

Posted on the Harvard corporate governance blog: A new shareholder advocacy group has been formed, the Main Street Investors Coalition. The Coalition aims to mitigate the adverse effects created by the concentration of shareholder voting power that now resides in the hands of mutual fund advisors. This concentration has developed because of the growing popularity…

No Votes on CEO Pay 2018

As You Sow Rosanna Weaver reports on 2018 proxy season no votes on pay: Not all the votes are in, but there are already a significant number low votes and outright losses among the S&P 500 on pay packages. So far there are seven S&P 500 companies that have lost majority votes that I’m aware…

Index funds must use their huge power over companies, says BlackRock chief Larry Fink 

Giant index funds have enormous clout in shareholder votes and company directors underestimate them at their peril, BlackRock chief Larry Fink has warned.The billionaire investment chief said index funds have long been underappreciated by corporate bosses but are making their power known by increasingly threatening to vote against underperforming directors. “The implicit sanction of a…

How are Shareholder Votes and Trades Related?

Rutgers Assistant Professor Sophia Zhengzi writes: Are shareholder votes a sufficient form of voice that catalyzes trades across the board? Are shareholders’ votes and trades correlated? And do shareholders update their trading patterns based on the information conveyed by other investors’ votes? We address these questions by examining the relation between votes and volume at…

Institutional Investor’s Wildly Inflammatory Rhetoric About ISS

The wildly inflammatory headline is belied by the actual text, which is sloppily sourced, vague, and internally inconsistent. Michelle Celarier of Institutional Investor calls ISS “The Mysterious Private Company Controlling Corporate America” but then admits that it has produced a “premium research product” that makes recommendations on proxy contests based on the “least invasive solution.”…

Index funds: cut-price consciences

Following criticism, the likes of State Street, Vanguard and BlackRock are changing tack and bulking up governance teams. Listen to the companies themselves and you might think the days of outsourcing voting policy to proxy advisers such as ISS are over. Glenn Booraem, Vanguard’s head of corporate governance, describes his colleagues as “passive investors but…

Charles Elson’s 2018 Proxy Season Predictions

Forbes’ Christopher Skroupa interviewed Charles Elson of the University of Delaware’s John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance about what we can expect in next year’s proxy season: I think you’re going to see a lot more direct involvement between shareholders and directors than before – whether it’s with a non-executive chair of the board,…