Archive | November, 2012

ISS Seeks Research Analyst

Research Analyst – Environmental & Social Issues Proxy Research based in Rockville, Maryland.

Institutional Shareholder Services, an MSCI business, seeks to hire a full-time, permanent analyst to join its environmental and social proxy issues research team in Rockville, MD. The primary duties and responsibilities of the position are to conduct research, write reports, and make recommendations on environmental and social issue shareholder proposals that will be voted on at the annual shareholder meetings of publicly traded U.S. companies. Continue Reading →

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Video Friday: Women on Boards & Glass Ceilings

A range of videos on the subject. The most recent EU proposal sets out a 40% “objective,” with unspecified sanctions against companies flouting the rules. The proposals would require companies to have clear, gender-neutral criteria for choosing non-executive directors and that if candidates are found to be equally qualified, then preference should be given to women. As long as companies have suitable systems in place, it appears they will not be penalized if they do not manage to meet the 40% level by 2020.  (EU defends women-on-boards plans, BBC, 11/14/2012) Continue Reading →

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CalPERS Seeks Global Governance Investment Officers

Job Announcement: As the nation’s largest public pension fund, managing assets of $240 billion as of November 13, 2012, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is committed to a diverse work environment and culture centered on core values of quality, respect, integrity, openness, communication, balance, and accountability. We’re looking for talented, enthusiastic people who share these same values. Continue Reading →

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Elisse Walter to Head SEC

Elisse Walter

Obama chose SEC official Elisse Walter to lead agency after Mary Schapiro announced she is stepping down.  Walter is a Democrat on the SEC’s five-member panel. Her term expired June 5, 2012, but a commissioner can stay on for an additional 18 months if not reconfirmed or replaced before then–in her case December 2013. Obama expressed his “deep gratitude” to Schapiro for taking the job in 2009. Obama said in a statement,

I am also pleased to designate Elisse Walter as SEC Chairman after Mary’s departure. I’m confident that Elisse’s years of experience will serve her well in her new position, and I’m grateful she has agreed to help lead the agency. Continue Reading →

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Video Friday: Replace the Goldman Sachs Muppets

Goldman Sachs has come under fire for placing its interests above those of clients, lack of transparency and insensitivity  regarding its compensation practices. Goldman has been the target of numerous investigations, enforcement actions and private litigation. Key governance flaws include executive compensation and business practices that create financial and reputational risks. Continue Reading →

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Platforms and Vehicles for Institutional Co-­Investing

A growing number of institutional investors, persistent in their desire to disintermediate and align interests with asset managers, are turning away from Wall Street and are instead looking to one another for assistance. These direct investors are hoping to overcome the loss of agglomeration economies embedded within traditional financial centers by leveraging a new set of network economies through collaboration and co-investment. Continue Reading →

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Wal-Mart (WMT) to be Hit on Black Friday

As Black Friday nears, Wal-Mart ($WMT) workers and community supporters are beginning 1,000 nationwide non-violent protests leading up to and on Black Friday, including strikes, rallies, flash mobs, direct action and other efforts to inform customers about the illegal actions that Wal-Mart has been taking against its workers.  As part of the protests, Wal-Mart workers walked off the job Tuesday morning in Pico Rivera, just outside Los Angeles, in protest against the company’s attempts to silence workers who speak out for better jobs. In October, the workers in Pico Rivera were the first group of Wal-Mart associates to go Continue Reading →

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NACD Focuses on Ombuds Programs

Last year I attended the NACD Directorship 100, proud to be listed again a worthy of being watched. This year, even though so honored, I won’t be able to make this important learning event. Learning event? Aren’t these functions mostly just networking opportunities? They are both. No one should question the value of such functions as networking opportunities. Who better to meet than the Directorship 100 (and even the ones to watch)? But I just noticed the October edition of NACD Directorship provides evidence of learning beyond even what those putting on the event might have expected. Amazingly I may have played a small part in it.   Continue Reading →

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ISS Updates Policies

ISS updated its proxy voting policies.  The most interesting to me is the “Board Response to Majority Supported Proposals.”

The marketplace has been evolving in the matter of board responsiveness to majority-supported shareholder proposals, both in terms of institutional investors’ expectations, and in terms of the actual responsiveness by issuers. ISS’ 2012-2013
Policy Survey results show that 86 percent of the institutional investor respondents expect that the board should implement a shareholder proposal that receives support from a majority of shares cast in the previous year. Continue Reading →

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Women on Boards: EU Commission Proposes 40% Objective

Despite an intense public debate and some voluntary initiatives at national and European level, the situation has not changed significantly in recent years: an incremental average increase of the number of women on boards of just 0.6 percentage points per year has been recorded since 2003.

It is for this reason that the Commission is today proposing EU legislation to accelerate progress towards a better gender balance on the corporate boards of European companies. The proposal was presented jointly by Vice-President Viviane Reding (Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship), Vice-President Antonio Tajani (Industry and Entrepreneurship), Vice-President Joaquín Almunia (Competition), Vice-President Olli Rehn (Economic and Monetary Affairs), Commissioner Michel Barnier (Internal Market and Services) and Commissioner László Andor (Employment and Social Affairs). Continue Reading →

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Microsoft (MSFT): How I Voted – Proxy Score 92%

Microsoft ($MSFT) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 11/28/2012. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of six funds when I voted on 11/16/2012.  (The Table below doesn’t include the votes of Trillium.) I voted with management 92% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank will be voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Don’t Let Companies Change Shareholders’ Blank Votes) Continue Reading →

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PRI Publishes List of New and Delisted Signatories

The United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative today published its annual list of signatories joining and leaving the initiative.

In total, 254 new signatories joined the PRI between 12 September 2011 and 9 November 2012, bringing total signatory numbers to more than 1,100, drawn from 50 countries and managing assets of more than US$ 32 Continue Reading →
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Support Petition to Disclose Corporate Political Spending

More than $6 billion was spent on this year’s presidential/congressional elections, too much of it by unknown sources. Are your companies opposing candidates you support or supporting those you oppose?  If so, do those contributions add to the value of your companies?  If they don’t disclose the expenditure, how would you ever know? Sick of that situation?  Want a change?

The WSJ reports that the SEC is actively considering an 8/3/2011 rulemaking petition submitted by a committee of ten law professors that urged the SEC to adopt rules that would require public Continue Reading →

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NSFM Appoints Cary Krosinsky as First Executive Director

The Network for Sustainable Financial Markets is an International, non-partisan network of finance sector professionals, academics and others who have an active interest in long-term investing. The recurring crises recently experienced in our financial markets are not isolated incidents.  Rather, this instability is evidence that the financial market system is in need of well thought-out reform so that it can better serve its core purpose of creating long-term sustainable value. Continue Reading →

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Trillium Asset Management LLC, on behalf of the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, along with the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan recently filed a shareholder proposal with Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C, $C) asking the company’s board of directors to explore a possible separation of one or more of its business units. Continue Reading →

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