Archive | September, 2012

Step Into the Corporate Governance Way Back Machine for September

Time to step into the way back machine to see what we were writing about 5, 10 and 15 years ago. Five years ago @ Corporate Governance, I was pleading for readers to send comments to the SEC on their proxy access proposals. 30,000 letters wasn’t enough, in my opinion.

A shareholder proposal calling for a “say-on-pay” vote by shareowners on executive compensation at Activision Inc. (ATVI) filed by As You Sow received 69% of the vote at the company’s annual meeting held in Beverly Hills, California.  This may be the highest vote result so far of about 50 say-on-pay proposals voted on by shareowners this year.  Activision is a publisher of video games including Quake, Doom and Guitar Hero, and is currently all the news for its purchase of Bizarre Creations Ltd., the UK studio behind the popular Project Gotham Racing title. (Activision to Purchase U.K.’s Bizarre Creations, WSJ, 9/27/07) Conrad MacKerron, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Program at the As You Sow Foundation, criticized the company for providing outrageous perks like paying the mortgages, Medicare taxes, and even pet-sitting for executives.  Continue Reading →

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Free Stanford Online Fall Class – Startup Boards: Advanced Entrepreneurship

This is an advanced entrepreneurship class, designed for teams who have already started a company or are seriously thinking about starting a company. So, don’t think just anyone will be accepted to this high-powered but free class. They encourage teams to take this class together, since much of the work will be focused on working with your board to make real progress on the most Continue Reading →
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A New Strategy to Fight Citizens United

Guest post from . Author, ‘The Myth of Choice’; law professor at Boston College. This article is adapted from a more substantial essay in the Fall 2012 issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and appeared previously on Huffington Post, 9/15/2012.

We progressives have been in quite a tizzy about Citizens United, especially now that 2012 election cycle is swamped with Super PAC money. Citizens United, you’ll remember, is the 2010 Supreme Court case saying that corporations have the same rights to engage in political speech as you and I do. In response, a number of progressives have proposed constitutional amendmentsto do away with corporate “personhood.” Continue Reading →
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SEC's IAC Seeks Input for Agenda

The Dodd-Frank Act established the Investor Advisory Committee (IAC) to advise the Securities and Exchange Commission on regulatory priorities, the regulation of securities products, trading strategies, fee structures, the effectiveness of disclosure, and on initiatives to protect investor interests and to promote investor confidence and the integrity of the securities marketplace. The IAC met for the first time on June 12, 2012 and the next full committee meeting is scheduled for September 28, 2012. Additional information on the committee. Continue Reading →

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Video Friday: Larcker on ISS

David F. Larcker

Many institutional investors rely on a proxy advisory firm to assist them in voting the company proxy and fulfilling their fiduciary responsibility to vote in the interest of beneficial shareholders. The largest and most influential proxy advisory firm is Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). The recommendations of ISS are not inconsequential. Academic and professional research suggests that a recommendation by ISS can change the outcome of a vote by 15 to 20 percent, depending on the matter of the proposal. Continue Reading →

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Trading Cards

I’m on vacation but here’s part of Broc Romanek‘s post from yesterday on SEC Trading Commissioner Cards and a great cartoon by Hank Blaustein, which you can buy from Grant’s Interest Rate Observer for $150, signed by the artist, probably a better investment than most stocks.  Simon Billenness, Consultant, Corporate Responsibility and Socially Responsible Investment, tells me:

I actually have two of these SEC trading cards!  There were people distributing them outside Union Station last week.

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GMI Incorporates Trucost Data into Analyst Platform

GMI and Trucost announced a strategic partnership to incorporate Trucost environmental performance data into the GMI Analyst research platform. The agreement strengthens GMI’s existing governance analysis and will enable GMI clients – leading institutional investors, banks, insurers, auditors, regulators and corporations – to incorporate a measure of environmental risk alongside traditional financial metrics. Continue Reading →

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Stratasys (SSYS): How I Voted

Stratasys ($SSYS) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. A special meeting of their shareowners is coming up on 9/14/2012. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of 2 funds when I voted on 9/12/2012.  I voted with management 33% of the time.

Frankly, I’ve been busy at conferences and have now left on vacation. I don’t want to take the time to carefully analyze this proxy. Therefore, I’m simply voting with CBIS. Continue Reading →

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ISS Should Reconsider Their Analysis of H&R Block Proxy Access Proposal

The influential proxy analyst, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), recommends voting against Kenneth Steiner’s proxy access proposal at H&R Block (HRB) on 9/13 because it “could undermine the efforts of larger, long-term shareholders whose interests might better reflect those of the broader shareholder base.” Their logic appears flawed. Larger, longer-term shareowners would gain rights, not lose them, under the proposal. CBIS changed their vote after reading this post and talking to me (see ProxyDemocracy.org). Will your fund do the same? Continue Reading →

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Donna Dabney Heads The Conference Board's Governance Center

The Conference Board today announced that Donna Dabney has joined The Conference Board as Executive Director of the Governance Center. In this new role, Ms. Dabney will lead a team that will explore restoring trust in public corporations, identifying sustainable corporate governance policies and understanding global governance issues. The Governance Center will continue to sponsor rigorous governance research and education and will serve as a Continue Reading →

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