Tag Archives | CFA Institute

Report from CII Winter Meeting: ESG

CIIEven in Washington, the numbers are impressive. The Council of Institutional Investors, who met in Washington DC this week, represents 23 trillion (with a t) dollars, mostly made up of retirement and other savings of working families. Compare that to the entire budget of the US government, less than two trillion a year. Like most industry group meetings in Washington, this one had presentations on what to expect from Congress and the regulatory agencies and how millennials will change the way the members do business, plus snack breaks and wireless sponsored by firms trying to sell products and services to the attendees. But the a two and a half day session featured repeated agenda topics on climate change and what are called ESG issues, suggesting that pension funds may step in where governments have failed. Continue Reading →

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Most Investment Professionals Consider ESG Issues

ESG Issues IRRCiAlmost three-quarters of investment professionals worldwide (73 percent) take environmental, social, and corporate governance — ESG issues into consideration in the investment process, according to the CFA Institute ESG Survey, a new survey of CFA Institute members created by CFA Institute and the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRC Institute). In addition, 64 percent of survey respondents consider corporate governance issues, 50 percent consider environmental issues, and 49 percent consider social issues in investment decisions. Only 27 percent do not consider ESG issues. Continue Reading →

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Recommendations to SEC-IAC on Proxy Access

Proxy Access Road Building (photo by Erik Johansson)

Proxy Access Road Building (photo by Erik Johansson)

I’m delighted to see “Discussion of Proxy Access” (11:05-12:05 p.m.) as one of the items on the agenda for the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee (SEC-IAC) at the upcoming February 12th meeting. I discuss two recommendations below. Take Action: Please submit your own and paste into comments below. See comments submitted.

Proxy Access: Rule 14a-11

In light of CFA Institute’s Proxy Access in the United States: Revisiting the Proposed SEC Rule with the following findings, it is time to revisit the SEC’s overturned Rule 14a-11. Continue Reading →

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Road to Proxy Access Altered Again

Road to Proxy Access (Photo by Erik Johansson)

Road to Proxy Access (Photo by Erik Johansson)

… If the stockholder is to regard himself as a continuing part-owner of the business in which he has placed his money, he must be ready at times to act like a true owner and to make the decisions associated with ownership. If he wants his interests fully protected he must be willing to do something of his own to protect them. This requires a moderate amount of initiative and judgment.  – Benjamin Graham and David Dodd, Securities Valuation, 1934

The most fundamental means for shareholders to act like true owners is to help decide who will represent their interests on the board of directors. It is not so much independent directors that shareowners want, but directors who are dependent on our vote – accountable to us, not to the corporate managers they oversee on our behalf.  Obtaining the right to proxy access has been a long and perilous road.

On December 1, 2014, SEC staff effectively cut the road, giving a free pass to every group of entrenched board members and managers that seeks to prevent proxy access and direct accountability to shareowners.  Continue Reading →

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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) – Proxy Score 62

MicrosoftMicrosoft Corporation ($MSFT), which develops, licenses, markets, and supports software, services, and devices worldwide, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 12/3/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of six funds when I checked and voted on 11/30/2014. Sorry for the late post. Tomorrow is the last day to vote online. I voted with management 62% of the time and assigned them a proxy score of 62.

View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Microsoft 2014 proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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Women on Corporate Boards: Global Trends for Promoting Diversity

WomenOnBoardsWe last explored the topic of gender diversity on boards, in particular the underrepresentation of women on them, late in 2012, but much has happened globally on the subject since then. More companies have adopted regulation on the issue that range from “comply-or-explain” rules to quotas for the percentage of women on boards.

A 2014 Grant Thornton report, Women in Business: From Classroom to Boardroom, finds more leaders warming to a quota system, with 45% of international business leaders supporting quotas — up from 37% just a year ago.

Below is a brief summary of some of the most recent developments concerning women on boards. Continue Reading →

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Video Friday: Family-Controlled Businesses – Dynasty Planning and Leadership Transition Challenges

CFASamuel Lum, CFA discusses opportunities and pitfalls in transitioning family-controlled businesses with Joseph P. H. Fan. Although there is a smaller proportion of family controlled businesses in the US, where most readers of CorpGov.net reside, the issues discussed are widespread enough to warrant attention. From the CFA Institute’s blog, Enterprising Investor: Continue Reading →

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2013 Millstein Forum: Managing Risk for Diverse Ownership

ManagingRiskPanel

Managing Risk Panel

The following are cryptic notes and a few photos taken at the 2013 Millstein Forum held June 24 & 25 at Columbia Law School. Be sure to check out the Forum’s photo gallery with links to other materials as well.

Moderator:  Peggy Foran, Chief Governance Officer, VP and Corporate Secretary at Prudential Financial, substituted for Holly J. Gregory, Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Panelists included: Continue Reading →

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Faith-Based Investing: Believers Engaging the Boardroom

The following guest post comes from Usman Hayat, was published by the CFA Institute on 13 February 2013, and is republished here with permission. 

Why, how, and to what effect do faith-based investors engage with companies to seek positive social and environmental change? A recent report, “Believers in the Boardroom: Religious Organizations and Their Shareholder Engagement Practices” by International Interfaith Investment Group (3iG), addresses this question.

The report offers case studies from three faith-based investors — Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Church of England, and Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust — who lobbied financial giants such as Goldman Sachs (GS) and Bank of America (BAC), to varying degrees of success. Continue Reading →

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Shareowner Rights By Country

Shareowner Rights across the Markets: A Manual for Investors from the CFA Institute compares the rights of shareowners in 10 developed markets and 12 emerging markets in both brief tabular form and through detailed explanation. Each report summarizes current practices, recent developments, legal and regulatory frameworks by jurisdiction, as well as providing helpful references to local organizations and regulators for each country. Download the entire report or by individual country. We’ve also added a link to the International Corporate Governance portion of our Links page so that you can easily find this valuable resource at a later date.

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