Tag Archives | Trillium

Paycom 2019: Proxy Voting Recommendations

The Paycom 2019 annual meeting is April 29th at 5300 Gaillardia Boulevard, Oklahoma City at 11:00 a.m. local time. Your last opportunity to vote online is April 28th. To increase corporate performance and shareholder value, WITHHOLD votes from Clark and Duques. Vote AGAINST pay; FOR auditor and FOR shareholder proposal to declassify the board.

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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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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 #ClimateStrike. Some have called it a tipping point. With BlackRock, Fidelity, TIAA-CREF and Vanguard all offering ESG funds to invest in our values, we must be heading for a low-carbon economy, right? That assessment may be premature. Not all ESG funds are alike.

New Morningstar research – published for Morningstar Direct users – uses Morningstar’s Fund Votes database to examine how ESG funds voted during the 2018 proxy season on climate-related shareholder resolutions. The research reveals a striking difference in voting patterns from funds sponsors by ESG-specialists vs. ESG funds from more traditional, non-ESG fund companies.

Morningstar Direct Findings

A huge positive is that more funds are starting to “get” the importance of ESG, not only as a screening tool for investing but also in casting proxy votes. Morningstar research found votes cast by the largest asset managers across all funds shows a year-on-year increase in support for all climate resolutions voted since 2016. That is certainly good news. Morningstar surveyed 14 resolutions with a positive vote of 40% or higher. Notice the two largest funds, BlackRock and Vanguard, with combined assets under management of $11.5 trillion, are laggards. Changing how they vote would make a significant difference.

Moningstar Fund Votes ESG Trends

ESG funds from BlackRock, Vanguard, Fidelity Investments, and TIAA- CREF, among others, cast a number of votes that appear to conflict with an ESG mandate, especially for funds specifically aimed at the environment.

ESG votes by Mainstream funds

By way of contrast, among nine fund companies with a long-term ESG focus, not a single vote was cast against climate-change resolutions that garnered more than 40% of the shareholder vote. Asset managers with an ESG orientation unanimously voted for the 14 climate-related resolutions that garnered more than 40% of the shareholder vote across all funds managed.

Votes by SRI asset managers

Underlying Assets

It also might be useful to look at underlying assets. For example, compare holdings of the Trillium P21 Global Equity Fund with BlackRock’s Impact US Equity Fund. BlackRock’s Impact fund contains investments in coal, oil and gas, fossil-fired utilities, etc. They constitute only a small portion of the portfolio but that is enough to get them 0 out of 5 “badges” from Fossil Free Funds. In contrast, Trillium P21 Global Equity Fund wins 5 out of 5 badges.

Research based on Morningstar’s Fund Votes database will help Morningstar Direct clients differentiate ESG hype from ESG reality. The service is likely to increase demand for mainstream fund families to be more consistent in voting and investing within a transparent ESG framework. Traditional SRI funds have been investing and voting ESG concerns for decades. Some, like Calvert, Domini, Pax World, Praxis, and Trillium even announce their votes to the public before annual meetings. Do not expect that from mainstream ESG funds any time soon.

   

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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 of investors to include environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, with everyone participating in the debate. Continue Reading →

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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 model, in contrast to models based on management power or shareholder power. (download paper in pdf) Continue Reading →

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Tesla 2018 Proxy Decisions Crucial

Tesla 2018 annual meeting is June 5, 2018. Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) designs, develops, manufactures, and sells electric vehicles, and energy generation and storage systems in the United States and internationally. If Tesla is to survive and thrive, it needs a more independent board. The vote of shareholders will be crucial in deciding Tesla’s future.

Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 50+ pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference their vote will make. I have done the work for you.

Below, I tell you how I am voting and why. If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years, have values aligned with mine, and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read most of the post), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two. Every vote does count. I voted against the Board’s recommendations 100% of the time on the Tesla 2018 proxy. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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United Technologies Corporation: Proxy Score 44

United Technologies CorporationUnited Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX, $UTX) provides high technology products and services to the building systems and aerospace industries across the world. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on April 25, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund when I checked. I voted AGAINST the pay plan, compensation committee and end to cumulative voting – voting with the Board’s recommendations 44% of the time. View Proxy Statement.

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

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Proxy Access at Apple: Last Day to Vote

Proxy Access at AppleProxy Access at Apple (AAPL) will be one of the most important votes of the proxy season. Will shareholders settle for the board’s recently adopted “lite” version, akin to greenwashing, or will shareholders vote in favor of real proxy access? Boards, investors, and the corporate governance industrial complex are watching in anticipation.  Your opportunity to vote  on this important issue expires TODAY, February 25th at 8:59pm PST (11:59pm EST) if you are using ProxyVote.com.

80% of retail shares aren’t typically voted, so it is almost as if you’ll be voting for five. If you are like me, you may hold Apple ($AAPL) stock in more than one account. Be sure to vote them all. Do it today, unless you will attend the meeting tomorrow. Vote FOR #8, Adopt Proxy Access Right. Continue Reading →

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Qualcomm, Inc (QCOM): Proxy Score 81

Qualcomm IncQualcomm, Inc. (QCOM, $QCOM) is engaged in providing third-generation (3G), fourth-generation (4G) and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm, Inc is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is on March 8, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked. I voted AGAINST the Omnibus Stock Plan and Harish Manwani and FOR proxy access. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 81% of the time. View Proxy Statement.

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

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Sustainability Reporting Wins Strong Support

Sustainability ReportingSustainability Reporting Resolutions Receive Strong Support

Sustainability reporting, as an issue, came out strongly this season on February 4, 2016, when ESCO Technologies hosted its Annual General Meeting (AGM). A shareholder proposal by Walden Asset Management requesting a comprehensive sustainability report, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals, received 43.5% support, excluding abstentions. I was sorry to see BlackRock vote against this proposal, especially since they signed the UN-PRI calling on increased efforts around sustainability. Continue Reading →

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Procter & Gamble: How I Voted – Proxy Score 56

Procter & GambleProcter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG) provides consumer packaged goods and is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their next annual meeting is October 13, 2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked and voted. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 56% of the time. View Proxy Statement

Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Procter & Gamble proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value.   Continue Reading →

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Kimberly Clark Corp (KMB): Proxy Score 57

Kimberly ClarkKimberly Clark Corp (KMB), which manufactures and markets personal care, consumer tissue, and K-C professional products, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/30/2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had the vote of four funds when I checked and voted on 4/24/2015. I voted with management 57% of the time and assigned Kimberly Clark a proxy score of 57.

View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Kimberly Clark 2015 proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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Coca-Cola Co (KO): Proxy Vote 58

Coca-ColaThe Coca-Cola Co (KO), which primarly manufactures and distributes various nonalcoholic beverages, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/29/2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had the vote of three funds when I checked and voted on 4/22/2015 (they now have more). I voted with management 58% of the time and assigned Coca-Cola a proxy score of 58.

View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Coca-Cola 2015 proxy in order to enhance  Continue Reading →

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Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Proxy Score 44

Johnson & JohnsonJohnson & Johnson (JNJ), which researches, develops, manufactures, and sells various products in the health care field worldwide, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/23/2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had the vote of three funds when I checked and voted on 4/17/2015.  I voted with management 44% of the time and assigned Johnson & Johnson a proxy score of 44.

View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Johnson & Johnson 2015 proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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eBAY Commits to Gender & Racial Diversity: Issues Remain

eBayNew York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Trillium Asset Management today announced that they have withdrawn the shareholder proposal they filed at eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) after the company agreed to revise its Governance Guidelines to include gender and racial diversity among the qualities its seeks in its board members. Several other issues remain on the proxy. Continue Reading →

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Yahoo! (YHOO): Proxy Vote – Score 56

Yahoo!Yahoo! $YHOO, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is June 25, 2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund when I checked and voted on 6/13/2014. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 56% of the time. Thus I assigned Yahoo! a proxy score of 62. View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Yahoo! proxy in order to enhance Yahoo’s corporate governance and long-term value.   Continue Reading →

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CMG Shareowners Vote Down Pay & Supermajority Requirements

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McRitchie CMG Selfie

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Just a brief post to thank shareowners at Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) for sending a strong message to the company’s board and management.  77% of shares were voted against the executive pay package and a majority supported our proposal to end supermajority voting requirements.

CalSTRS, Florida SBA, AFSCME, Calvert, Domini, Trillium, CBIS, CtW and many others joined to reject the non-binding say-on-pay measure and a proposed stock incentive plan. Both ISS and Glass Lewis recommended their clients vote against the package and the plan. Continue Reading →

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Union Pacific Corporation (UNP): How I Voted – Proxy Score 53

UNPUnion Pacific Corporation $UNP, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/15/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked and voted on 5/9/2014.  I voted with management 53% of the time.  View Proxy Statement.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime)

I generally vote against pay packages where NEOs were paid above median in the previous year but make exceptions if warranted. According to Bebchuk, Lucian A. and Grinstein, Yaniv (The Growth of Executive Pay), aggregate compensation by public companies to NEOs increased from 5 percent of earnings in 1993-1995 to about 10 percent in 2001-2003. Continue Reading →

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Fluor Corporation (FLR): How I Voted – Proxy Score 13

FluorFluor Corporation $FLR is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/1/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked and voted on 4/28/2014.  I voted with management 13% of the time.  View FLR’s Proxy Statement, which is user friendly.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious CrimeI generally vote against pay packages where NEOs were paid above median in the previous year but make exceptions if warranted.  Continue Reading →

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International Business Machines Corp. (IBM): How I Voted – Proxy Score 75

IBMInternational Business Machines Corp. $IBM, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/29/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked and voted on 4/22/2014.  I voted with management 75% of the time.  View Proxy Statement.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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The Coca-Cola Company (KO): How I Voted – Proxy Score 63 – Things Go Better With a Split CEO/Chair

CokeThe Coca-Cola Company $KO, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/23/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked and voted on 4/15/2014.  I voted with management 63% of the time.  View Proxy Statement, which by the way is very nice and user friendly. See 18 Cool Things about the proxy.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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Quick Bites on CorpGov

UnknownDon’t miss the following great reads:

 Activist shareholders’ top priorities for 2014. A must read for directors and shareowners alike. Here’s the first paragraph.

Many of us free ride on actions taken by active, long-term shareholders. These unsung heroes goad managers and boards to reach better decisions, make available desirable employment opportunities and, overall, push them to act like good corporate citizens. These active investors accomplish these things by talking to companies, preparing proxy proposals for all shareholders to consider, and offering recommendations on director elections and company-sponsored proxy measures.

Ralph Ward digs past the standard bullshit in his 2014 Boardroom Insider. Always plenty to chew on in a few short pages. Here’s a tidbit, which I hope will leave you wanting more, which includes more tips than you’ll find in pages and pages of other publications aimed at directors. Continue Reading →

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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): How I Voted – Proxy Score – 75

microsoftMicrosoft Corporation $MSFT is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 11/19/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked (there have been more since).  I voted with management 75% of the time.  View Proxy Statement.

Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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Garment Worker to Access WalMart Annual Meeting

I am delighted to announce that Kalpona Akter, a former garment worker from Bangladesh who is the executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, will have access to the floor of the WalMart ($WMT) annual meeting on Friday, June 7 in Bentonville, Arkansas. She has been an outspoken critic of sweatshop conditions in Bangladesh where Wal-Mart is the second largest producer. Ironically, she will be presenting my proposal to allow shareowners to call a “special meeting.” Continue Reading →

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How I Voted: Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) – Proxy Score 38

Chipotle Mexican Grill ($CMG) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 5/17/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked on 5/13/2013.  I voted with management 38% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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How I Voted: American Express Company (AXP) – Proxy Score 59%

American Express Company ($AXP) is a stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/29/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of six funds when I checked on 4/22/2013.  I voted with management 59% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank are voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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How I Voted: Canadian National Railway (CNI) – Proxy Score 13%

Canadian National Railway ($CNI) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 4/23/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked on 4/21/2013.  I voted with management 13% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank will be voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Broken Windows & Proxy Vote Rigging – Both Invite More Serious Crime) Continue Reading →

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UNFI: How I Voted – Proxy Score 17%

United Natural Foods ($UNFI) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 12/12/2012. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I voted on 12/5/2012.  I voted with management only 17% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any items left blank will be voted in favor of management’s recommendations. (See Don’t Let Companies Change Shareholders’ Blank Votes) Continue Reading →

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