Tag Archives | investors

Normalized Deception: Spectrem Group

Normalized deception in the world of politics has spread to proxy voting controversies. A recent white(wash) paper by the Spectrem Group purports to be “providing a voice to retail investors on the proxy advisory industry” by employing a ham-handed survey, which seeks to “educate” respondents through leading questions. The report’s catchy title is Exile of Main Street: Providing a Voice to Retail Investors on the Proxy Advisory Industry. Continue Reading →

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Investors to Oil: Disclose Climate Lobbying

Influence Map to Disclose Climate Lobbying

Influence Map to Disclose Climate Lobbying

Disclose Climate Lobbying: Resolutions Filed at Oil and Gas Companies

Encouraged by the forward‐looking actions addressing climate change at the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December, investors have filed shareholder resolutions at 11 oil and gas companies asking them to disclose climate lobbying activities. The resolutions urge the companies to fully disclose their lobbying activities and expenses (direct and indirect through trade associations) and to review their public policy advocacy on energy policy and climate change. Let’s get oil and gas companies to disclose climate lobbying! I sincerely hope readers of Corporate Governance (CorpGov.net) will vote in favor of these resolutions as they appear on corporate proxies. Monitor how others are voting at Proxy Democracy. If you own stock in other oil and gas companies, consider filing similar resolutions. Don’t know how? Check out our Shareowner Action Handbook. Take Action! Continue Reading →

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Call for Papers: Critical Issues for Boards & Institutional Investors

WeinbergCtrThe John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance of the Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics at the University of Delaware will host a Corporate Governance Symposium on March 15, 2016.  The focus of the Symposium will be “Critical Issues for Boards & Institutional Investors in 2016.”  The Symposium will feature up to four academic papers on corporate governance and a panel discussion featuring speakers from the Delaware judiciary, academic, business and legal communities.  The John L. Weinberg Corporate Governance Best Paper Award will be presented during the symposium luncheon.    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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July 2010, 2005, 2000 in Corporate Governance History

Mr. Peabodys WayBackMachineI don’t think we’ve gone back in time all year… too busy with proxy season. Join us as Mr. Peabody and Sherman prepare to go back in time to visit corpgov.net 5, 10 and 15 years ago. Yes, many links are broken. The world and the internet move on… still, it is worth a few minutes to reflect on where we’ve been.

Five years ago in Corporate Governance

What Would Proxy Access Look Like if Done Right?

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Boardroom Insider: Aren’t Boards Supposed to Work That Way?

Boards od Directors

A meeting of a board of directors of the Leipzig–Dresden Railway Company in 1852 (Wikipedia)

Those of us involved in corporate governance issues for a living enjoy talking shop with others in the field. One reason, I suspect, it that it’s so damned difficult to explain corporate governance norms to people on the outside. “You mean CEOs pretty well select the very board members who set those CEOs’ pay and performance standards? How can I get a job like that?”…and so on. Continue Reading →

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Video Friday: Triple Feature on Shareholder Engagement

Engagement is, or should be, the common theme of our three videos. CalPERS argues it gives them a seat at the table. Professor Damodaran extols the importance of engagement as a possibility. As a shareholder, what avenues are open? In Davos, I think they looked through the wrong lens. Instead of engagement, they focused on an assumed end-goal that rules out other human values. Continue Reading →

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Deal Professor Equates Filing Proxy Proposals with Terrorism

Most people don’t like their behavior criticized. CEOs and boards almost always fight my proxy proposals aimed at improving corporate governance. Likewise, I wasn’t happy with the Deal Professor’s criticisms of my shareowner activism in his August 19th NYTimes article, Grappling With the Cost of Corporate Gadflies, which also criticizes John Chevedden and William Steiner. I stewed for days but finally took the advice of a good friend, who is Assistant General Counsel & Corporate Secretary at a major company,

Better to be engaged than enraged!

If I had more time available, my response would have been shorter but I have a number of projects that demand attention. When I submit proposals, I want boards to weigh them carefully on the merits. I have tried to do that with the Deal Professor’s criticism. I hope our mutual use of hyperbole doesn’t preclude further engagement. Unlike the character in the cartoon at right, I feel no need to irritate… but I do often question mechanisms in corporate governance that isolate and concentrate power, rather than distributing it. I prefer structures that distribute power, making us of the wisdom found at all levels.  Continue Reading →

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Guest Post: Relieve the Pain of Voting Season

MikeTyrrell at Work

Mike Tyrrell

Mike Tyrrell is Editor of SRI-Connect – an online research marketplace for professional institutional investors, analysts & companies interested in sustainable development.  He is keen to open up the site to corporate governance analysts & corporate governance research.

I’ve heard so many complaints over the years about the work overload that occurs in ‘voting season’ and I’ve heard it from all sides: from investors, from research providers and from companies.  I’m aware that there are a number of structural changes, challenges and developments underway in the corporate governance and proxy advisory world.  These will take their course. Continue Reading →

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Take Action: Quick Bites on Corporate Governance – Tell Me More

RalphNaderThe BBC reports Activist Ralph Nader wants you to get paid. Apparently, our Take Action: Join Nader’s Penny Brigade didn’t take hold.

BBC CAPITAL: This year, you’ve taken steps to get the Penny Brigade idea off the ground. You want 15 to 20 advocates for good company behaviour to provide setting-up costs for a watchdog foundation, right? You have personally pledged 1% of your net worth, or roughly $50,000, in each of the next three years. What are your next steps? Continue Reading →

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Using Sharegate: The Next Great Shareholder Communications Platform

sharegateOne way to use Sharegate is to announce your proxy votes. Far too many retail shareowners just trash their proxies instead of using them. A common misconception is that shareowners should take the Wall Street Walk and sell if they are displeased with any aspect of a company they own. That is like saying you should pack up and move out of the neighborhood if you think there should be a stop sign at the end of the block.  Continue Reading →

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Trading on Emotions

Investors’ previous experiences with a stock affect their willingness to repurchase the stock. Using detailed trades data from two brokers, Michal Strahilevitz, Terrance Odean, and Brad M. Barber document that investors are reluctant

  1. to repurchase stocks previously sold for a loss and
  2. to repurchase stocks that have risen in price subsequent to a prior sale.

They propose this behavior is driven by investors’ emotional reactions to trading and their attempts to distance themselves from negative emotions (e.g., disappointment and regret). Investors are disappointed when they sell a stock for a loss and regret having ever purchased the stock; these negative emotions deter investors from later repurchasing stocks sold for a loss. Since many investors view their portfolios regularly, they also desire to avoid painful reminders of prior losses.

Having sold a stock, investors are disappointed if the stock continues to rise and regret having sold the stock in the first place; these negative emotions deter investors from repurchasing stocks that go up after being sold. Thus investors engage in reinforcement learning, by repurchasing stocks whose previous purchase resulted in positive emotions and avoiding stocks whose previous purchase resulted in negative emotions.

Stock trading, like many other economic behaviors, is affected by emotions. It makes emotional sense that investors repurchase stocks that have decreased in value since being sold. Investors who do so feel the pleasure of making a choice that results in a better outcome than what might have been had they not previously sold the stock, while investors who repurchase at higher prices feel regret from knowing that they could have easily done better. Similarly, avoiding what has been a source of pain in the past is one of the most basic instincts that humans possess. Investors are unlikely to wish to repeat or to be reminded of actions linked to their previous failures. Thus, it is not surprising that investors are attracted to stocks that have treated them well in the past but shy away from stocks by which they were once burned.

Once Burned, Twice Shy: How Naïve Learning, Counterfactuals, and Regret Affect the Repurchase of Stocks Previously Sold, forthcoming Journal of Marketing Research, May 2011.

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Investors Fear Their Advisers

A new poll shows that nearly 60% of 4,000 investors who responded to a recent poll said getting scammed is their top fear when dealing with investment advisers. (Why investors fear their advisers – Investment News, 11/11/2010) Is it any wonder?

Daniel Sparks, the former head of Goldman’s mortgage department, freely admitted in Senate testimony that their obligation was to act in their own best interest, not those of their clients. The clients of Goldman Sachs are among the largest and most sophisticated investors. If Goldman doesn’t feel any compunction to act in the best interest of their clients, why should less sophisticated investors feel any safer with advisers occupying lower tiers? (see Capital Offense) Advisers have a lot of work going forward to convince clients to trust them.

Top six reasons why affluent clients dump their advisers (Investment News, 11/10/2010)

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Governance and Risk: Benchmarking Corporate Governance Risks

Governance and RiskGovernance and Risk by George S. Dallas (Editor). This handbook presents the most comprehensive framework for corporate governance as a risk factor that I have ever seen. I have several books on my shelves that compare corporate governance systems in the US, UK, Japan, Germany and France but this one also includes Brazil, China, India, Korea, Russia and Turkey.

I also have plenty of handbooks for directors that describe various duties but Governance and Risk takes the most systematic approach. Each factor is accompanied by instruction, questions, as well as examples of strong and weak profiles. Continue Reading →

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