Archive | January, 2010

Recent Reports from Broc

Broc Romanek posted the results of one of his recent surveys of upcoming proxy issues in their blog. About 33% of his mostly corporate respondents are worried or very worried about the impact of elimination of broker nonvotes. About 12% appear to be more likely to use a proxy solicitor during the 2010 season. Almost […]

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SEC Requires Disclosure of Climate-Related Impacts

The SEC issued new interpretive guidance that clarify companies must weigh the impact of climate-change laws and regulations when assessing what information to disclose to investors in terms of climate-related ‘material’ effects on business operations, whether from new emissions management policies, the physical impacts of changing weather or business opportunities associated with the growing clean […]

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Advocacy websites offer hope

Nice article by that title appeared in Canada’s Financial Post. “Imagine a democracy where those who don’t vote have their ballots automatically cast in favour of the incumbents… Enter an idea whose time has come: websites such as corpgov.net, shareowners.org (corrected), proxydemocracy.org and moxyvote.com. These are just four offerings on the Internet designed to help […]

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FINRA: Compliance Considerations for Social Networking

FINRA offers a relatively low cost webinar covering compliance and regulatory considerations when using social networking sites to communicate firm business. February 3, 2010, 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., Eastern Time / 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., Pacific Time. With the advent of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter, business use of social networking sites has […]

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Voter Funded Investor Education Proposal

Mark Latham represents individual investors on the SEC Investor Advisory Committee (SECIAC). He reports in his VoterMedia Finance Blog on a creative Voter-Funded Investor Education Proposal. It was considered by the Investor Education subcommittee. Unfortunately, he was informed the SEC is not empowered to distribute funds to other organizations. Hopefully, he will be able to […]

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RiskMetrics Group Reportedly on the Auction Block

According to a Wall Street Journal report, RiskMetrics Group Inc. has put itself on the auction block. “The company could fetch a premium of about 30% to its current value, said one person involved in a potential transaction. That would value the company, which has about 1,100 employees, all in New York, at around $1.3 […]

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Vote Disclosure Coming at Pension Funds

At a hearing on compensation in the financial services industry, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said, “If you are the owner of shares … you have a privacy right, but if you own shares on behalf of a fiduciary you will need to disclose how you vote.” In late 2003, after years of […]

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SIF Funds Outperformed

A review of 160 socially responsible mutual funds from 22 members of the Social Investment Forum (SIF) finds that the vast majority of the funds — 65 percent — outperformed their benchmarks in calendar year 2009, most by significant margins. These SRI funds topped benchmarks across nearly all asset classes, including balanced, large cap, small […]

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Future Directions for CorpGov after Citizens United

Yes, corporate governance takes on more importance since the decision. Corporations could easily control our elections.  ExxonMobil spent $45 million lobbying at the federal level during the 2007-2008 election cycle. Jamin Raskin, Professor of Constitutional Law at American University and a Maryland State Senator, says if they spent 10% of their 2008 profits, or $8.5 […]

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Apache v Chevedden: SEC Rules Don't Reflect Reality

I was delighted to see Broc Romanek coverage of the controversy surrounding Apache v Chevedden, although he did so in a members only area of theCorporateCounsel.net. I hope the case gets a lot of attention. Yesterday, I was discussing a table I am working on that shows some of the rights denied to street name […]

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Intel Virtual Mtg Out for 2010 But Exploring Future with USPX

Bowing to shareowner concerns, Intel Corp. scrapped plans to hold an exclusively on-line virtual annual meeting in 2010 and is likely to participate in a Fall conference to establish safeguards for the conduct of virtual meetings in the future, the United States Proxy Exchange (USPX) announced today. Background Last Fall, Intel Corp. announced plans to […]

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SEC Self-Funding Authority Demanded

Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs were sent a letter today from signatories representing a broad coalition of investors and market participants (including the publisher of CorpGov.net) urging them to provide self-funding authority to the SEC so that it has the resources necessary to fulfill its mission to protect […]

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Senate Banking Gets Message From Investors

Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs were sent a AFRtoSenateLetterJan20-2010 from signatories representing a broad coalition of investors and market participants (including the publisher of CorpGov.net) urging them to require proxy access and majority votes for director elections. We believe Congress should adopt director election reforms in two ways: […]

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Major Shift in Proxy Voting Policy at State Street

Last year Walden Asset Management filed a resolution at State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) seeking a proxy review. While SSgA successfully obtained a “no-action” letter from the SEC, their voting practices were still the subject of a debate at the annual meeting. This year United for a Fair Economy picked up the torch and filed […]

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Intel Yields on Virtual Meeting

From a IntelOurPublicStatementRegardingVirtualMeeting: “In the fall of 2009 Intel indicated it was going to attempt an experiment and hold its’ 2010 stockholders meeting entirely on the web, moving from a physical annual meeting to a virtual meeting. A number of shareholders expressed support for the expansion of the annual meeting via the web, but voiced […]

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Who Funds Chamber Attacks?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently revised its published membership numbers from 3 million to 300,000 after Mother Jones uncovered it was playing games with its numbers. But even the revised numbers are misleading, since the Chamber’s 25 largest contributors provided a staggering $54 million to the Chamber in 2008, accounting for 39% of its […]

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How to Include Employees in Decision-Making

WorldBlu looks at this important issue within a long series aimed at implementing democracy in the workplace. This segment looks at DaVita, a FORTUNE 500 company comprised of 35,000 employees with nearly $6 billion in annual revenue. It is the largest independent provider of dialysis services in the United States, operating over 1300 clinics. On a regular […]

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A Fistful of Dollars: Lobbying and the Financial Crisis

On December 31, 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ameriquest Mortgage and Countrywide Financial spent respectively $20.5 million and $8.7 million in political donations, campaign contributions, and lobbying activities from 2002 through 2006 to defeat of anti-predatory lending legislation. Such anecdotal evidence suggests that the political influence of the financial industry contributed to the […]

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Corporate Library's Free ESG Webinar

Ignites and FundFire are jointly hosting “Social Investing Opportunities And Challenges” a special 45-minute webinar on January 26th, 11:00 AM EDT, helping money managers, financial advisors and investment consultants address the increased interest in investments focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Sponsored by The Corporate Library, an independent corporate governance research firm, this […]

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Apache v Chevedden: More Comments

Gary Lutin was kind enough to forward some additional comments on this case from a few of his Forum participants. Two of them are noteworthy and were not discussed in my prior post on this case. I found Clearfield’s statement straightforward by Nelson’s more puzzling. Andrew M. Clearfield, CEO of Investment Initiatives, LLC, formerly Managing […]

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Apache Files Slapp Suit: More Support for DRS

As reported in Risk & Governance Blog (1/13/10), theCorporateCounsel.net Blog (1/13/10), GlobalProxyWatch (1/15/10), and by Gary Lutin via e-mail (1/15/10), Houston-based Apache has sued shareowner activist John Chevedden, contending that he failed to meet the proof-of-ownership requirements in SEC Rule 14a-8(b) required to submit a resolution. See Apache v Chevedden. Chevedden provided documentation of his ownership but […]

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Advice for Financial Advisors

Most affluent retirees want more than just investment management from their adviser, according to a survey released by Sallie Krawcheck’s wealth management group at Bank of America Corp. (Well-off retirees: We sought financial advice too late, Investment News, 1/14/10) According to Ms. Krawcheck, this is an opportunity for financial advisors, “what we’re learning is that […]

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Proxy Reform

Chris Kentouris takes up the issue of Who Pays for Proxy Reform? at Securities Industry News (1/12/2010) “In one corner is the New York-based Broadridge Financial, which is only too eager to tout the efficiencies of the current system in which it holds a virtual monopoly. It’s actually the world’s largest distributor of proxy materials […]

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Co-Filers Wanted on Petition to Eliminate Street Name Registration

As I indicated in my last post (Can We Change Voting Behavior?), I’m working with the United States Proxy Exchange (USPX) on a petition to the SEC to end “street name registration.”  That largely ad hoc system took root under emergency conditions stemming from a paperwork crisis during the 1960s, before networked computers were ubiquitous in trading […]

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Can We Change Voting Behavior?

We Own You!: How technology can help stockholders take control of the corporations they own, Slate.com, 1/12/10.  Eliot Spitzer writes,  “Twitter, text messages, YouTube, and other technology transformed politics in 2008. This success raises a compelling question: Can the same technology awaken the more dormant world of corporate democracy?… Could proxy voting in 2011 generate the […]

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CorpGov Bites

TheCorporateCouncil.net posted a transcript of a recent Webcast on the SEC’s new Proxy Disclosure requirement. Like always, they do an excellent job of sorting out issues for those getting into the weeds. RMG reports “The wave of new federal securities lawsuits related to the global credit crisis has finally subsided, down 7-24% depending on whose data […]

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Up From Wall Street

Up From Wall Street: The Responsible Investment Alternative by Thomas Croft is a book that should be read by all working North Americans, concerned with the reckless loans and short-term stock market bets that nearly plunged the world’s economy into chaos. The book is especially relevant to those working at and those seeking to influence […]

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TK Kerstetter Wrong on Board Disclosure

TK Kerstetter wrong on board disclosure proposal at the SEC. TK Kerstetter is the president and CEO of Board Member Inc. a privately held publishing, database, research, and conference company focused on corporate board issues and governance trends. Corporate Board Member is sent to all corporate directors of public companies on the NASDAQ, NYSE Euronext, […]

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How to Be a Good Lead Director: Be the Chairman

In July 2009, the SEC proposed new proxy disclosure rules that will require public companies with a combined CEO/Chairman to disclose why the company believes such a leadership structure is appropriate and what specific role the Lead Director plays in the leadership of the company. via How to Be a Good Lead Director – Boardmember.com. Unreported […]

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