Tag Archives | BlackRock

Climate Risk Hypocrites

Climate Risk Hypocrites

Climate Risk Hypocrites exposed by Morningstar’s Jackie Cook and Tom Lauricella. The authors found support for climate-related proposals rose at Fidelity, State Street Global Advisors, and Vanguard. Support fell at American Funds and BlackRock. (Top Fund Companies’ Climate Change Votes: A Very Mixed Picture) (more…)

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BlackRock 8-K

BlackRock 8-K Positive CorpGov

BlackRock 8-K of October 6th contains good news for shareholders.  I frequently complain about BlackRock because their actions, especially proxy voting, are out of sync with their positive ESG statements. (see BlackRock Action Update) However, it is also appropriate to give their board credit for proposing important corporate governance reforms to be voted at the […]

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Giant Shadow of Corporate Gadflies

The Giant Shadow of Corporate Gadflies

The Giant Shadow of Corporate Gadflies, by Yaron Nili and Kobi Kastiel, (download at SSRN) is one of the more objective reviews of the recent influence of “gadflies” on corporate governance in America. It might have been even better if the authors had discussed their work with the subjects of their study – the gadflies. (Disclosure: […]

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BlackRock 2020 Corporate Purpose

BlackRock 2020: Corporate Purpose

BlackRock 2020 annual meeting is 5/14/2020 at 5AM Pacific virtually by entering the eligible shareholder’s 16-digit control number found on the proxy card. To enhance long-term value: Vote AGAINST Einhorn, Ford, Gerber, Johnson, Mills, Nixon, Slim Domit, Auditor, & Pay. Vote FOR Report Corporate Purpose.  See list of all virtual-only meetings maintained by ISS. (more…)

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COVID-19 Scapegoat

COVID-19 Scapegoat at AGMs: AT&T Bans Phones

COVID-19 Scapegoat: AT&T Fears Virus Through Phone Lines? COVID-19 scapegoat – instant rationale for poor treatment of shareholder and proposal proponents at 2020 meetings. Like the President, they claim all the power but absolve themselves of any blame. AT&T (T) holds its annual general meeting (AGM) on Friday, April 24th. List of all virtual meetings kept by […]

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Money and Politics Get a Divorce

Money and Politics Get a Divorce

Money and Politics Get a Divorce. That would be a nice headline. It has been more than ten years since the US Supreme Court held that corporations could spend unlimited  funds on election campaigns in their decision, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Money and Politics Get a Divorce: Still Waiting Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion […]

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GPW Blowback

GPW Highlights SEC Blowback

GPW (Global Proxy Watch) discussed selected comments from investors to the SEC concerning two proposed rules in an article entitled Blowback, reproduced below with permission. GPW normally runs two pages, summarzing weekly developments on governance and stewardship from Stephen Davis and Aaron Bernstein. Blowback took almost a page. (more…)

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Shareholders Target Fund Voting

Shareholders Target Fund Voting For Sunlight

Shareholders target fund voting at BlackRock Inc., Vanguard, JPMorgan Chase, T. Rowe Price, and Northern Trust. (BlackRock, Vanguard Face Shareholder Rebuke Over Climate Votes, Bloomberg, 12/13/2019) With their rights under attack by the SEC, shareholders are beginning to realize how their investments are too often voted in corporate elections to concentrate power in self-serving corporate […]

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SEC Proposal to Improve Proxy Voting

SEC Proposal to Improve Proxy Voting Advice

SEC Proposal to Improve Proxy Voting to Have Opposite Effect SEC proposal to improve proxy voting advice would raise the cost of proxy voting analysis, reduce the number of customers and ultimately reduce shareholders ability to hold public companies accountable. If enacted, control of capital will be further removed from Main Street investors [Mr. and […]

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Gadfly Importance Key - McRitchie

Gadfly Importance Key to Democratic CorpGov

Gadfly importance to democratic corporate governance is often underrated. We are currently under attack by the Business Roundtable (BRT) and others seeking to substantially raise the ownership threshold for submitting and resubmitting proposals. BRT, for example, contends proposals from small shareholder divert “significant time and resources to issues that, at best, have an attenuated connection to the […]

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Mutual Fund Wars

Mutual Fund Wars Over Fees AND Proxy Votes

Mutual fund wars are fierce around pricing. What if competition was also fierce around proxy voting? Could that change the world? I certainly think so. My petition to the SEC could generate mutual fund wars around ensuring proxy votes align with investor values. (Rulemaking Petition for Real-Time Disclosure of Proxy Votes, SEC File 4-748, Jul. […]

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More Beta: Modernizing Modern Portfolio Theory

More Beta: 21st Century Portfolio Theory

More beta is what investors should focus on order to increase long-term returns, argue Jim Hawley and Jon Lukomnik in their paper, The Long and Short of It: Are We Asking the Right Questions? – Modern Portfolio Theory and Time Horizons (download). That has also been the objective of Corporate Governance (CorpGov.net) since 1995. I […]

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We Three Kings - Caleb Griffin

We Three Kings: Sharetopia

We Three Kings: Disintermediating Voting at the Index Fund Giants (download at SSRN) by Caleb N. Griffin provides insight as to how investors could influence the Big Three index funds — BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street, as those funds exercise increasing power over the economy. Like me, Griffin is interested in extending democracy to corporate […]

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CSR 5.0 Skytop Strategies

CSR 5.0 Skytop Strategies

CSR 5.0. I must have missed 2.0 through 4.9… focused on corporate governance and ESG. This was my first Skytop Strategies conference (agenda) or one specifically on the topic of CSR. It was billed as presenting “the evolution of corporate social responsibility from its initial shared value paradigm to its current form. The program will […]

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Morningstar Direct Uncovers ESG Hypocrites

Morningstar Direct Uncovers ESG Hypocrites

Morningstar Direct is planning to offer its clients important voting data. The firm recently published a preview of what I impolitely term ESG hypocrites – funds that advertise themselves as allowing us to invest in our values but then vote proxies against our values. For example, last week, students around the world participated in a massive […]

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Prison Labor - NorthStar Report

Prison Labor Fight at Costco: NorthStar Gathers Support

Prison Labor concerns raised again by NorthStar Asset Management won nearly 29% of shareholder votes at Costco Wholesale meeting on January 24, up from almost 5% last year.  The proposal asked for enhanced analysis and disclosure on risks related to prison labor in the company’s supply chain. Yes, if you just read that old link from a […]

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American Values

Internet Will Drive Public Opinion and Proxy Voting to Reflect American Values

American values were recognized as at risk in 1932 when Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means argued that with dispersed shareholders, ownership has been separated from their control. (The Modern Corporation and Private Property) Ironically, concentration of equities under the umbrella of three or four indexed funds presents an opportunity to end that divide and make companies […]

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Say.com Goes Live on Tesla

Say.com Goes Live on Tesla

Say.com goes live to help small shareholders have a greater voice in how the companies they’re invested in are run. Say facilitates proxy voting for shareholders who invest at the broker-dealers it is partnered with and also is creating new products for all shareholders to engage with companies, regardless of where they invest.  (more…)

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NAM Board Targeted

NAM: Stop Supporting ‘Main Street Investors’ Coalition Say Real Investors

NAM Board Targeted Investors led by Walden Asset Management, New York Common and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) called on 45 companies sitting on the Executive Committee and Board of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) to end the trade association’s attacks on shareholders. The investors’ letter asks the companies to distance themselves […]

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Index Funds - Jill Fisch

Jill Fisch: Index Funds Investors Can Switch

Jill Fisch, et al. addresses a central myth around index funds and investors in Passive Investors (June 29, 2018). Her research has implications applicable to recent analysis and recommendations by Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr., Professor Lucian Bebchuk and others.  The following is the central highlight: Our key insight is that although […]

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Big Three Index Funds - Bebchuk and Hirst

Big Three Index Funds: Bebchuk, Hirst and More

Lucian Bebchuk has given more thought to the issues surrounding the Big Three Index Funds than other researchers. He and Scott Hirst recently provide a “comprehensive theoretical, empirical, and policy analysis of index fund stewardship.” Reference also Strine: Big 4 Responsible to “Forced Capitalists,” as well as The Untenable Case for Keeping Investors in the Dark by […]

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Do the opposite

Do the Opposite: Franklin Resources Plays George

Do the Opposite was funny in the sitcom Seinfeld but not so funny when Franklin Resources does the opposite of shareholder proposals. In fact, doing the opposite threatens the existence of even the facade of democratic corporate governance, alive since 1947 with the legal right of shareholders to file and vote on proposals. (more…)

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Frozen Charters

Frozen Charters: Major CorpGov Issue

Thanks to Scott Hirst‘s articles and papers on the subject, I can borrow his catchy label for one of biggest current problems in corporate governance. Frozen charters are supermajority provisions that are impossible to repeal. He appears to attribute that to the 2012 change by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which changed its policies […]

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Support for Corporate Political Disclosure

Support for Corporate Political Disclosure Surges

Support for corporate political disclosure sponsored by the Center for Political Accountability’s resolution jumped among the largest mutual funds in 2018.  An analysis by Fund Votes found support moved to 53%, up from 45% in 2017. This 8% increase was the largest since CPA began tracking institutional investor votes on its resolution in 2008. (more…)

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listing standards valuation-dual-class-firms

Listing Standards Requested by CII

Listing standards change sought by the Council of Institutional Investors (CII). CII filed petitions with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the NASDAQ, asking both to limit listings of companies with dual-class share structures. They have taken the right approach to address a growing problem. I hope it ends a worldwide race to the […]

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SB 826

SB 826: Sidley Austin LLP Update

SB 826 requires specified California-based public corporations to include women directors on their board. Sidley Austin LLP put out a bulletin on the topic. To ensure it receives widespread circulation, I am reproducing its main text below, with one minor change to break up an absurdly long sentence. (more…)

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Main Street Investors

Main Street Investors: Battle Coming

The battle over Main Street Investors could determine the future of the American economy for decades to come. According to Cydney Posner of Cooley PubCo, on one side are those who believe investors must focus on maximizing financial return and management knows best. On the other side are those who want to broaden the focus […]

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Shareholder Collaboration

Shareholder Collaboration

Shareholder Collaboration is a new ECGI working paper by Jill Fisch and Simone M. Sepe. Fisch is one of my favorite researchers, being insightful and less predictable than many of those in the primary academic hubs of corporate governance (Harvard, Stanford, and Delaware). In Shareholder Collaboration, the authors discuss the growing importance of a collaborative […]

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Tesla Proxy Access

Tesla Proxy Access: Item 4 Presentation

Tesla Proxy Access, item #4 Tesla shareholders meet Tuesday, June 5, 2018, at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time, at the Computer History Museum located at 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, CA 94043.   In the interest of more accurate press coverage of Tesla Proxy Access, item #4, I (James McRitchie) am posting the text of my […]

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