Tag Archives | ESG

ESG Options in DC Plans

ESG Options in DC Plans

ESG Options in DC Plans? Morningstar can help you find them. President  Trump’s Department of Labor aims to limit ESG investing in retirement plans, although even law firms recognize the need for ESG research. Fund flows and investor interest remained high according to Morningstar’s research, even amid the year’s earlier market downturn.  Insights from Morningstar discuss how the Presidential […]

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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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#MICUS 2020 Comparing Sustainable Funds

#MICUS 2020 Comparing Sustainable Funds

#MICUS 2020, the Morningstar conference, had so much to write about during day 1 that it may take me a month or so to go through it. Register for day 2 if you missed the first day. I just heard Larry Fink, of BlackRock. For someone heading the largest pile of investment money in the […]

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ESG Rulemaking by DOL opposed

ESG Rulemaking by DOL

ESG Rulemaking by DOL – comments are in. Several investor organizations and financial industry firms released an analysis of the more than 8,700 public comments on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed rulemaking on the consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations in ERISA-governed retirement plans. There is overwhelming opposition to the “Financial Factors […]

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2020 Spring Proxy Season Results

Spring 2020 CorpGov.net Proxy Proposal Results

Spring 2020 CorpGov.net Proxy Proposal results are in.  Once again, rules proposed by the SEC would likely cost shareholders billions of dollars because of delayed good governance practices. Since the SEC has not yet finalized their costly rulemaking, I filed the following update on their proposed Procedural Requirements and Resubmission Thresholds under Exchange Act Rule […]

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Shareholder-Driven Stakeholderism

Shareholder-Driven Stakeholderism

Shareholder-Driven Stakeholderism (U of Chicago) by Cathy Hwang and Yaron Nili argues the Business Roundtable Statement of the Purpose of a Corporation should be seen as another way to entrench management, instead of disarming greedy profit-driven shareholders. Analysis of data, drawn from companies in the S&P 1500, found shareholders, not management, “have been the driving force behind […]

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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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Henderson - Reimaging Capitalism in a World on Fire

Henderson – Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire

Rebecca Henderson, Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire points to the real need for reform and offers several suggested improvements, primarily the need to focus on purpose. (link to Amazon) I review her book below and offer my own four cents of advice. Today (6/24/2020) Rethinking Capitalism: A fireside conversation with Rebecca Henderson and Ioannis Ioannou […]

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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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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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Costco ESG Momentum

Costco ESG Momentum: Right to Remove Directors

Costco ESG momentum has improved. I submitted a shareholder proposal to help keep it on that path. The proposal would eliminate a corporate governance anomaly Costco has by virtue of being incorporated in the state of Washington, which allows articles of incorporation to provide that directors cannot be removed without cause by shareholders. (more…)

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ICCR Letter to BRT

ICCR Letter to BRT on ESG Resolutions

Below is an ICCR letter to the BRT from Josh Zinner commending them on their recent acknowledgement of the value of stakeholders and asking them to reassess their opposition to shareholder resolutions. I have added a few links to the ICCR letter to the BRT. I look forward to hearing more from Josh today at 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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McRitchie 2019 Proxy Season

McRitchie 2019 Proxy Season Win for Market Beta

McRitchie 2019 proxy season results are not something I normally report. It feels too much like bragging. I do my work to drive better, more accountable corporate governance. However, the SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance is “considering recommending that the Commission propose rule amendments regarding the thresholds for shareholder proposals under Rule 14a-8.” It is […]

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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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Golden Peacock Awards

Golden Peacock Award Applications Open

Golden Peacock Award applications due August 31, 2019. Today, Boards are expected to focus on improving their effectiveness—not just their compliance, but also Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance for long term sustainability and making their companies investor friendly. Boards also require frameworks for optimizing board engagement and performance, enhancing the contribution of individual board […]

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Quora Stock Market Question

Quora: Stock Market Good or Scam?

I posted one of several responses to the following question on Quora: Do you find investing in the stock market a good investment strategy or a scam? I thought my blog readers may also be interested in what I posted to Quora. Here it is with minor changes. (more…)

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Josh Levin

Josh Levin of OpenInvest Interviewed by Sonya Dreizler

Josh Levin of OpenInvest was kind enough to chat with me at Morningstar’s Investment Conference earlier this year. Unfortunately, I was busy and distracted but curious about Josh Levin and his investment platform. Could OpenInvest and similar firms disrupt the mutual fund industry? Andreessen Horowitz, YCombinator, QED, and others back OpenInvest financially. I knew OpenInvest allows customers […]

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SSgA critical of GHG short-term

SSgA Critical of GHG Short-Term Disclosures

SSgA critical of GHG short-term perspective offered up by oil and gas, mining and utility disclosures on addressing greenhouse gas emissions. If we are to maintain a salubrious environment, much of the coal and oil will turn out to be stranded assets. Given that reality, I reallocated most positions I had in this sector to […]

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Training for Sunstainable Investing

Training for Sustainable Investing

Training for Sustainable Investing was a topic at the most recent Morningstar Conference in Chicago. (#MICUS) I would like to learn more the education of investment advisors in #ESG, #SRI, #corpgov issues. Interest in sustainable investing was high at the conference due to fund flows and client inquiries. However, I only saw a couple of […]

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Sustainability at Morningstar

Sustainability at Morningstar

Sustainability at Morningstar (Morningstar Investment Conference #MICUS) in Chicago was an important topic, growing in popularity. As posted, their research found “72% of the United States population expressed at least a moderate interest in sustainable investing.” Nice to know many value a habitable planet as well as profits. However, research from Morningstar also finds we […]

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#MICUS 2019

MICUS 2019: #Susty #VR

MICUS 2019 was my first Morningstar investment conference. It was HUGE, with lots interesting exhibits, speakers and attendees. I had a chance to chat with Ray Sin who, along with Ryan Murphy and Samantha Lamas, authored The True Faces of Sustainable Investing: Busting Industry Myths Around ESG. Additionally, I got a chance to play a […]

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MBII Elects Directors by Majority Vote 3-18-19 at 7.02 PM

MBII Elects Directors by Majority Vote

MBII elects directors by majority vote, effective March 15th 2019. Marrone Bio Innovations (MBII) amended its bylaws after a request by shareholder advocate James McRitchie and upon the recommendation of the Nominating and Governance Committee. The bylaws now provide that, in uncontested elections, MBII elects directors by majority vote of “For” and “Withheld” votes cast. […]

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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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Real-Time Proxy Voting Disclosure - Image from Pensions & Investments

Real-Time Proxy Voting Disclosure Will Drive Competition

Real-time proxy voting disclosure by big funds could drive competition for investments from individual investors and smaller institutional investors with few resources for proxy analysis. Such disclosures would also go a long way in solving problems raised by Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine, Lucian Bebchuk, and the Main Street Investors Coalition regarding potential […]

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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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