SocialFunds.com – Mutual Fund Challenged over Proxy Voting on ESG Issues
Six fund families failed to support even a single climate-related resolution in 2012, including BNY Mellon, Franklin Templeton, ING, Pioneer, Putnam and Vanguard.
Sonia Kowal of Zevin found this voting record at odds with statements from Franklin Resources:
The mission of Franklin Templeton’s ESG program is to partner with investment teams to enhance integration of ESG considerations in the investment process in order to manage risk and enhance returns.
Zevin filed a shareowner resolution with Franklin Resources, which calls on the company to review its proxy voting policies,
taking into account Franklin Resources’ own corporate responsibility and environmental positions and the fiduciary and economic case for the shareholder resolutions presented.
What about other fund families? Are they also signatories to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Principles should be lived, not just advertised.
GMI Ratings – President and CEO, Dan Concannon, shared the stage with FTSE’s Head of ESG Service Unit, Kevin Bourne, and Head of FTSE’s ESG Analytics, Gordon Morrison, at The Future of Corporate Reform to discuss the increased demand for enhanced governance measurements, such as GMI’s Forensic Alpha Model (FAM™).
GMI’s FAM is designed to use forensic accounting and governance-related measures of issuer risk to efficiently gain exposures to themes that investors identified as sustainable drivers of investment return. Once again, I was impressed with this tool, which uses corporate governance measures, to achieve alpha. See FAMulous Basis for Achieving Alpha.
Governance Gateway Blog (Richard W. Leblanc) – What are some best governance practices of award-winning companies? Leblanc served on a governance awards panel and tells what they looked for. Potential reading for directors on social media. This post is very much draft but with interesting links aplenty.
ProxyDemocracy News – In case you missed it, the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee passed a set of resolutions encouraging tagging of corporate filings. That should make it easier to compare voting records and hold funds accountable… if the SEC moves on the recommendations.
Race to the Bottom – More Political and Social Disclosure Likely? “Requiring companies to post potentially embarrassing information…even if the information is not qualitatively or quantitatively material to investors, can be a very powerful motivator to change corporate behavior,…”“Congress has figured this out, and the dam” has broken, Cross said.
Remember when you’d put Silly Putty on the Sunday color comics and the image would be transferred to the Silly Putty? Then you’d stretch it and re-stretch it to distort the image until finally it was no longer recognizable. That is where we are with fiduciary duty.
Webb-site.com – Women and the size of HK boards. During the summer recess, Webb-site has completed a 23-year (and growing) database of the boards of HK-listed companies, including delisted companies and stretching back to 1-Jan-1990. So we have added a look-back function to several pages in Webb-site Who’s Who, which allows you to roll back the clock to any date in that period and look at board composition and positions held by individuals… Click here to see the distribution of women per company. What this shows is that currently, the average number of women is 0.93 per board, with 622 boards, or 39.6%, having no women at all, and 598 (38.0%) having just one.
We had a dream too! Following the hallucinations in HKEx non-elected director and CEO Charles Li Xiao Jia’s blog yesterday, Webb-site had a dream last night, in which HK investors signed a declaration calling for a new regulator to remove HKEx’s conflict of interest between profit and regulation, inspired by the events of 1776:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all shareholders are created equal, that they are endowed by their Articles of Association with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are limited liability and 1 vote per share. — That to secure these rights, Regulators are instituted among markets, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Regulator becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Regulator, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect fair and orderly markets. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Regulators long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that investors are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the Stock Exchange Listing Division to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Profit evinces a design to reduce regulatory standards, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Listing Division, and to provide a new Listings and Takeovers Authority for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of this former Colony; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Regulation. The history of the present Stock Exchange is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of more listings at the expense of regulation. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.