Archive | March, 2012

Where's the Boss? And What Counts as "Work"?

Last week the Wall Street Journal printed an article describing how CEOs around the world spend their time.  The article drew on data from a larger study, the Executive Time Use Project, and relied on reports of time use by CEO’s personal assistants.  The article indicates that assistants only tracked activities that lasted (more…)

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USPX Updates Model Proxy Access Proposal

Two weeks after SEC lawyers granted six corporations approval to exclude “proxy access” proposals from their proxy materials, United States Proxy Exchange (USPX) members are already submitting an updated version of that same proposal to other corporations. Updated language addresses the flimsy pretexts for the lawyers’ decision, as well as implementing improvements to the proposal […]

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Fund Votes: Great Resource for Proxy Research

Jackie Cook has revamped the Fund Votes website with a nice fresh look. More importantly, she’s added new features that make me move it toward the top of useful sites for retail shareowners, as well as for some institutional investors. As far as I know, Fund Votes has long had the most comprehensive (more…)

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Board Evaluations: Rigorous Process or Kabuki Theater?

In recent years, virtually all boards acknowledge that an annual board evaluation is required by “best practices.” How that evaluation should be done, by the board members themselves or by outside “experts” still remains an open matter. And whether these evaluations, either internal or external, are in most cases useful in improving board performance or […]

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Starbucks (SBUX): How I Voted

Starbucks (SBUX) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is on 3/21/2012. Voting ends 3/20 on  MoxyVote.com‘s platform, which listed recommendations from eight “good causes,”including four consolidations. ProxyDemocracy.org had three fund families voting but is easier to view. (more…)

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ICGN to Release Best Practice Guidelines on Political Spending & Contracts

After extensive consultation with global investors, the ICGN releases two new best practice guidelines: ICGN Guidance on Political Lobbying and Donations and Model Contract Terms Between Asset Owners and Managers. Said Christianna Wood, Chairman of the ICGN Board of Governors: In the post-global financial crisis environment few topics have received as much attention as asset […]

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Webinar: Common ESG Metrics

The Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute will host a webinar to review the findings of a new study, Finding Common Ground on the Metrics that Matter, on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 11:00 AM ET. The report authors will review the findings and respond to questions.  Register. Download the report (more…)

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Pushback From SEC Staff

“Stunning,” “arbitrary,” “unjustifiied” … “questionable”: these are some of the words individual shareowners are using to describe the SEC handling of six corporations’ requests to be allowed to exclude the USPX model proxy access proposal from their 2012 proxy materials.* This week, the Commission’s staff approved every one of those requests. Corporate executives routinely solicit […]

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Whole Foods Markets (WFM): How I Voted

Whole Foods Market (WFM) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is on 3/9/2012. By the time I post this, voting will have ended on MoxyVote.com‘s platform. However, you can still vote at proxyvote.com and you can still visit MoxyVote.com for recommendations from eight “good causes,” (more…)

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India's Cross Border Deals Point to Needed Reforms

To do more jumbo deals in a tougher world, Indian firms need to tackle a glaring area of weakness. This is their complex structures, which mean cash flows are spread thinly, and their dislike of issuing equity for fear of diluting their controlling shareholders. Both factors combined make it hard to marshal resources without resorting […]

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Predictions for 2012 Proxy Season

Francis H. Byrd asked several of us in the corporate governance industrial complex to make predictions for the 2012 proxy season and beyond. I urge you to read the Laurel Hill Advisory Group’s pdf, Predictions and Expectations for 2012. Just a few brief highlights below (read the pdf for (more…)

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LA Trustees Roundup 2012: Corporate Governance

As Laura Berry mentioned at the conference, this is an event to recharge your batteries. It is great to learn what others are doing. Of course, the list of things I need to do grows exponentially every time I attend one of these gatherings of mostly California public pension funds. Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer: Nothing I […]

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Pai Backs India's InGovern Proxy Service

I had run across InGovern before – it provides corporate governance research and proxy voting services regarding public companies in India – but Mohandas Pai backs corporate governance research start-up in the Hindu Business Line really caught my attention. (more…)

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