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Shareholders holding up companies

Announcing Proxy Votes Improves Corporate Governance

Yesterday, I posted a recent letter to the editor of Pensions & Investments praising their editorial, Winning Over Proxy Voters, which argues that institutional investors have a fiduciary duty to announce their proxy votes in advance of annual meetings, if doing so is likely to influence voters. If institutional investors heed their call, it will speed […]

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Guest Post: Meet… James McRitchie, CorpGov.Net

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. Mike kindly gave permission to reproduce the interview on CorpGov.net.  (more…)

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Cisco Systems (CSCO): How I Voted – Proxy Score 56

Cisco Systems, Inc. $CSCO is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is next week on Tuesday, 11/13/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of 2 funds when I checked on 11/13/2013 (there have been more since). I voted with management 56% of the time.  View Proxy Statement. Warning: Be sure to vote each item on the proxy. Any […]

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Cisco Systems: Proxy Proposal #5 – 11 Q&A

I received a series of questions about my 11/5/2013 post Cisco Systems: Prime Target For Proxy Advisor Contest. Since other $CSCO shareowners might have similar questions, I am posting the questions and our responses below regarding proxy proposal #5, APPROVAL TO HAVE CISCO HOLD A COMPETITION FOR GIVING PUBLIC ADVICE ON THE VOTING ITEMS IN THE PROXY […]

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Cisco Systems: Prime Target For Proxy Advisor Competition

Cisco Systems (CSCO) faces challenges as never before. For example, see Here’s What Happened When Cisco Lost A $1 Billion Deal With Amazon. Meeting those challenges will take a concerted effort by management and the board of directors. Shareowners, who elect the board and vote on major proxy issues facing our company, also play an important role […]

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Proxy Advisor Competition at Cisco OK'd by SEC

Mark Latham came up with a brilliant idea in the late 1980s: Shareowners should use their corporation’s funds to pay for external evaluations of governance and performance of the board and management. Shareowners would vote to choose among competing organizations to provide this service. It was a simple concept but SEC rules made subsequent proposals […]

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Review: A Real Look at Real World Corporate Governance

This book follows the theme of Corporate Governance Matters: A Closer Look at Organizational Choices and Their Consequences also by David Larcker and Brian Tayan. Larcker is the James Irvin Miller Professor of Accounting, Stanford Graduate School of Business. Brian Tayan is a member of the Corporate Governance Research Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. While Corporate Governance […]

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Costco: Proxy Advisor Contest Proposed

My wife, Myra Young, submitted a proxy proposal to Costco aimed at establishing a new and innovative way for shareowners to obtain proxy voting advice. The proposal would set up a contest, pay for proxy advice out of entry fees and corporate funds, and would then share the advice of four winners with all Costco shareowners. […]

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Make Auditors Work for ShareOwners: Take Action

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) published a concept release that asks for public input on how to get auditors to become more independent, more objective, and more skeptical – and especially whether a mandatory rotation system for audit firms would achieve that objective. While mandatory rotation has been considered and dismissed in the […]

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Why Routinely Approve Auditors?

Ever since the demise of Enron, I’ve wondered why the vote by shareowners to approve auditors is considered such a routine nonevent. Ask anyone who used to work for former big five firm Arthur Andersen LLP. Yet, “ratification” of auditors remains among the last holdouts of broker voting. Who watches the watchers in the world of […]

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SEC Seeks Comment on Investor Education

On April 19, the Securities and Exchange Commission published a request for public comment on the effectiveness of existing investor education efforts as part of a review mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. Request for Comment Submit Comment Section 917 directs the SEC to conduct a study of retail investors’ financial literacy and submit its findings […]

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Rating the Raters

I applaud CalPERS for proposing that credit rating agencies (CRAs) should be hired by investors instead of by corporate management. This proposal was in CalPERS’ October 4, 2010 comment letter to the SEC: “Current legislation through the Dodd-Frank Act … appoints the Comptroller General through Section 939D, to study an alternative means to compensate the […]

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Investment Clubs Get Moxie

BetterInvesting, the nonprofit association serving the retail investor primarily through education and investment clubs, announced a strategic partnership with Moxy Vote. BetterInvesting will promote the use of Moxy Vote’s free online proxy-voting service. According to Kamie Zaracki, CEO of BetterInvesting: We’re excited to work with Moxy Vote. Since 1951, our association has been advocating that […]

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Video Friday

VoterMedia.org is a website that helps a community connect with its elected leaders, by letting voters allocate community funds to competing blogs. It motivates the bloggers to become community media. In this video, students at the University of British Columbia talk about how VoterMedia has helped their student union, which is called the Alma Mater […]

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Corporate Accountability, Web 2.0 & CorpGov Functions at Public Funds

Bill Baue and Marcy Murninghan have authored a recent working paper that deserves wide circulation and thoughtful consideration. The Accountability Web: Weaving Corporate Accountability and Interactive Technology can be downloaded from the website of the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Since I’m trying to get you to read the […]

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Latham at Stanford: Governance Reform for Corporations and Democracies

On November 16, 2009, the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University presented a lunch-time lecture with Mark Latham, Director of VoterMedia.org and ProxyDemocracy.org. Latham is also a member of the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee, as a representative of individual investors. He has written extensively on how the internet can […]

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Handbook of Social Capital

When Tocqueville visited the United States in the 1830s, it was our propensity for civic association that impressed him as the key to making democracy work. "Americans of all ages, all stations in life, and all types of disposition:’ he observed, "are forever forming associations. There are not only commercial and industrial associations in which […]

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Corpocracy and How to Get Our Democracy Back

One book on corporate governance made Ralph Nader’s list of Nine Books That Make a Difference: A Reading List for the Holidays. Here’s his brief review: Corpocracy by Robert A.G. Monks (Wiley Publishers) summarizes its main theme on the book’s cover-“How CEOs and the Business Roundtable Hijacked the World’s Greatest Wealth Machine-and How to Get […]

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