Archive | August, 2017

How to Think: Reviewed

How to Think

How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds (buy), by Alan Jacobs, is not directly about corporate governance. It is more about learning more from your engagements with those who do not share your views. Corporate Governance (#corpgov on Twitter) has not been immune from incivility. How to Think could help us all to better diagnose forces that keep us from thinking, while helping us to acknowledge that it is impossible to “think for yourself.”

I’ll post a few of my takeaways from How to Think below. If you only have time to scan a couple of pages in your local bookstore, turn to “The Thinking Person’s Checklist” on pp 155-156. Hopefully, that will hook you in and you’ll buy it and read the entire 157 pages. There’s much more in How to Think than a checklist or a few takeaways.

Thinking is integral to life, so the book is more about establishing good habits, centered around how to communicate with others. It would be nice if everyone read “How to Think” before getting a Twitter account. I will try to apply a few of these and other lessons in future #corpgov posts and responses on Twitter. Continue Reading →

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Related Party Transaction Rejected

related party transactionRelated Party Transaction Defeated at India-Based Raymond

According to a recent report by InGovern, primarily focused on India, Raymond, in its AGM on 5th June, proposed a contentious related party transaction where it wanted to sell one of its prime properties to its Chairman and some of his relatives. As bad as things have gotten in America, I do not recall seeing anything quite like it.

Trump face - Happy Eclipse Day - Thanks to The New Yorker

Happy Eclipse Day – Thanks to The New Yorker

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Shareholder Society Better Chamber Mantra

A shareholder society appears to have no place in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC) severely flawed paper on shareholder proposal reform. The paper is intended to contain a “set of recommendations for the SEC on fixing the broken Rule 14a-8 system in order to protect investors and make the public company model more attractive.”

However, the report attempts to solve our economic woes by eliminating shareholder rights. I criticized their report in my post Shareholder Proposal Reform Rebutted. Instead of seeking to amend Rule 14a-8 to create an essentially democratic-free zone for entrenched managers and boards, the Chamber should focus on creating a prosperous shareholder society where all Americans have a stake in our future. Continue Reading →

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Walden Withdraws Vanguard Proxy Voting Shareholder Resolution

Walden Asset ManagementWalden Asset Management has engaged a number of investment managers and mutual funds on their proxy voting practices, specifically challenging voting records on shareholder resolutions addressing significant social and environmental issues. I see this as a major victory. However, more Vanguard shareholders need to speak out to ensure momentum continues. Contact Vanguard.Vanguard

In 2017, Walden filed resolutions with two Vanguard equity index funds that requested a review of their proxy voting at portfolio companies, particularly on shareholder resolutions focused on climate change. While mutual funds are not required to hold annual meetings for investors, Vanguard scheduled a November meeting for other reasons, thus setting up the opportunity for a vote on the Walden resolution. Continue Reading →

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Multi-Class Share Ban: Speculation

Say ‘no’ to dual class shares - Mak Yuen Teen and Chris Bennett http://governanceforstakeholders.com/2015/11/28/say-no-to-dual-class-shares/

Say ‘no’ to dual class shares – Mak Yuen Teen and Chris Bennett

Multi-class Share Ban: Methodology

Multi-class share structures were banned by S&P from joining their most popular indexes. The move has been hailed by investors, myself included. Little noticed by the mainstream press, but discussed briefly by Davis, Polk & Wardell LLP is a provision allowing spin-offs from companies (like Alphabet) to be listed. Continue Reading →

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Mutuality Business Models Explored

Mutuality in BusinessThe objective of the forum videoed below was explore how the adoption of mutuality principles and the Economics of Mutuality approach to value creation can contribute to the both society and the commercial success of firms. The notion that business has a significant role in addressing human and social problems has led to a re-evaluation of the purpose of business.

Putting mutuality – the interests of others – ahead of profit maximisation can generate more value for both stakeholders and the company than traditional profit maximisation. The best businesses do good through the co-creation of commercial and social benefits. There may be lessons here for Twitter. Continue Reading →

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Shareholder Proposal Reform Rebutted

Shareholder Proposal Reform

Shareholder Proposal Reform or Fat-Cat Entrenchment?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC) released a paper on shareholder proposal reform, which contains a “set of recommendations for the SEC on fixing the broken Rule 14a-8 system in order to protect investors and make the public company model more attractive.” See also the Chamber’s press release, U.S. Chamber Offers Recommendations to SEC on Shareholder Proposal Reform.

Rule 14-8 is not broken, many of the Chamber’s attestations are alternative facts and its recommendations are more likely to hurt our economy than help it. The paper is very similar to their previously released Responsible Shareholder Engagement And Long-Term Value Creation: Modernizing the Shareholder Proposal Process. As I wrote in my rebuttal last year (Business Roundtable to SEC: Muzzle Shareholders),

‘modernization’ for the Business Roundtable means moving the SEC further and further from its primary mandate of ‘investor protection’ by creating a democracy-free zone for entrenched managers.

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