BlackRock Shows Resolve and Restraint in Public Climate Test – Bloomberg

In the first major test of BlackRock Inc.’s commitment to use its vast influence and resources to fight climate change, the asset manager showed a capacity both for combativeness and restraint. The $6.5 trillion firm said in a report on Tuesday it identified 244 companies during the 2020 annual proxy season that weren’t doing enough…

Proxy adviser ISS recommends vote ‘against’ executive pay at Alphabet – Reuters

Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has recommended shareholders of Google-parent Alphabet Inc to vote “against” the company’s proposed executive pay at its annual meet in June, according to a report seen by Reuters on Thursday. “The compensation committee has demonstrated poor stewardship of pay programs as evidenced by recurring concerns of outsized awards that are not…

New Study on Proxy Voting by Index Funds — Our Supplemental Comment to the SEC

Another supplement to our earlier comments: We incorporate by reference and make a part of this record a study by joseph Farizo, (Black)Rock the Vote: Index Funds and Opposition to Management (March 2020) with its conclusions, conclusively and decisively refuting the unsupported allegations of “robs-voting” and supports our description of the conflicts of interest fund…

Skadden Scheme Exposed by Phil Goldstein – Corporate Governance

Many thanks to James McRitchie, alway the most vigilant and valiant advocates for shareholder rights, for discovering this latest scheme to suppress shareholder votes: Skadden scheme exposed by Phil Goldstein, of Bulldog Investors, threatens to kill shareholder rights. While we were fighting COVID-19 and new rules proposed by the SEC to eviscerate shareholder rights Skadden,…

ISS: 2020 Climate Policy Proxy Voting Guidelines

ISS has released its new climate policy recommendations for voting proxies. The full text is below. An excerpt: Sustainability Reporting The concept of sustainability is commonly understood as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Indeed, the term sustainability is complex and poses…

Op-Ed on SEC Proposed Rule on Proxy Advisors

VEA Vice Chair Nell Minow and other shareholder advocates signed this op-ed appearing in Corporate Knights about the SEC’s new proposed rule on proxy advisors and shareholder proposals appearing in Corporate Knights: The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission is trying to change the rules that govern shareholder proposals and sustainable finance luminaries are pushing back. In…

The Power of Voting: Active Ownership for Index Strategies

Index firm Solactive writes: September 2019 marked a major milestone in US financial history as the assets managed under passive strategies (the selection of stocks based on a mechanical, rules-based approach) surpassed those under active strategies. The rise of ESG and its latest evolution, active ownership, is another megatrend within the investment world. Are these…

State Street CEO Takes the Long View on Shareholder Activism – WSJ

As CEO of State Street Corp., STT 2.10% Ronald O’Hanley is on the front lines of shareholders’ push to bring change to corporate boardrooms. State Street, STT 2.10% whose money-management arm oversees $2.7 trillion in assets, has amassed significant governance power in recent years as investors shifted more money into the lower-cost, index-tracking funds it…

DOL Quietly Joins SEC’s Shareholder Voter Suppression Effort

Here is the latest from the DOL in intentionally bureaucratic gobbledygook: This deregulatory action would modernize fiduciary practices related to the voting rights associated with ERISA plan investments and harmonize those regulations with the requirements of other regulators. The goal of this proposal would be to protect the interests of participants and beneficiaries by: (1)…

Want a Bigger Say on Corporate Behavior? Move Your Money – The New York Times

From our former colleague Jackie Cook — index fund voting patterns may be an unhappy surprise to their investors. [W]hile index funds offered by different companies were often nearly indistinguishable in fees and performance, the voting behavior of the funds was very different. Vanguard and BlackRock, the two biggest fund managers, tended to side with…