Posts Categorized: Corporate Governance Insights

Proxy Access: A Core Shareholder Right or the Latest Corporate Governance Fad?

The 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law required all companies to provide proxy access to shareholders, but the implementation of this rule has been tied up in court. A small number of companies have moved ahead, and this proxy season roughly 40 companies have made “proxy access” available to shareholders. Meanwhile, the New York City Pension System filed proxy access requests to 75 companies in May. Below we provide some background on the issue, in the form of responses to questions we’re frequently asked.

Post-Crises, Japan is a Good Investment

Japan is a country built on reinvention. Even in the most dire circumstances, be it nuclear attack, tsunami or economic recession, its leaders have a history of “bending adversity” repeatedly into prosperous new beginnings. Most recently, after decades of economic stagnation, Japan awoke from its slumber under the energetic leadership …

Corporate Governance in Japan: A Developing Story

What is going on in the universe of corporate governance in Japan today seems revolutionary compared with slow discussions of many years in the past. I can see two distinguished differences. First, the present movement is wholly due to the leadership of the Government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Each ministry and stock market including the FSA (Financial Services Agency), TSE (Tokyo Stock Exchange) …

Are You Thinking Like a Universal Owner?

Imagine it is 2006, and a savvy and perspicacious Chief Investment Officer of a large pension fund foresees a looming threat to the stability in the financial markets. Having lost confidence in the banks, what can she do? Unlike hedge funds or active managers, she cannot short or even exit the shares of the financial sector because her fund is so large that it must hold every name in the public markets…

What is Shareholder Engagement… Why is it Important?

The article by Susan Baker and Jonas Kron provides a fascinating example of how Trillium Asset Management has used its influence as an investor to impact corporate policies on an important social issue. But is Trillium’s story an outlier or part of a trend? Do companies change their governance practices in response to input from shareholders? If so, why? And more importantly, does it benefit the bottom line?

Governance & the NFL

ABSTRACT FROM THE CORNERSTONE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE JUNE 2014 EDITION. In sports, fixing the game is the ultimate sin, and all sports leagues work hard to prevent contests from being decided by anything other than the skill and the effort of the players and coaches. No sport survives for long if it does not make the delight of its fans its central purpose…

Good Governance: A Cornerstone of Entrepreneurism

“Corporate Governance.” Perhaps the term seems out of place in a journal devoted to entrepreneurship? Entrepreneurship, whether found in a start-up or an established company, implies innovation, strategy and corporate renewal. Corporate Governance, by contrast, is seen as a “soft” form of corporate regulation that restricts and perhaps confines management. Moreover, decades of studies of different corporate governance approaches have not produced a consensus on whether and how corporate governance matters for corporate performance….

Follow the Leader, Follow the Money…Sustainable Entrepreneurship in Banking – The Equator Principles

ABSTRACT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE MAY 2014 EDITION While images of Richard Branson or Elon Musk may come to mind upon hearing the term “social entrepreneur,” one does not require a huge public presence, a revolutionary new idea, or even billions of dollars to make a positive impact in meeting… Read more »

Principles for Responsible Investment: Focus on Farmland

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE FEBRUARY 2014 EDITION. In April 2010, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Supachai Panitchpakdi said: “There is an urgent need to invest more in agriculture both to ensure food security and as the basis for long-term economic development.” To address these… Read more »

Constructive Dialogue Bears Fruit

EXCERPT FROM THE JSFB. SUBSCRIBERS CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN THE FEBRUARY 2014 EDITION. It has become more and more clear that shareholders can have tremendous leverage to influence corporate and industry practices globally, often in collaboration with coalitions of other shareholders and activist organizations. While one voice can make a difference, the collective voice of… Read more »

The Challenge of “Unburnable Carbon”

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, January 2014 written by John Wilson, former Director of Corporate Governance at TIAA-CREF and the Director of Socially Responsible Investing at the Christian Brothers Investment Services. Subscribers can view the full article in the January edition. The social and economic impacts of climate change may be… Read more »

Respecting Human Rights: Urgent, Necessary, Not Optional

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, December 2013, written by Julie Tanner, Assistant Director of Socially Responsible Investing, Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS). With the Rana Plaza building collapse, the Tazreen factory fire, the Deepwater Horizon explosion, and the Foxconn suicides now part of our lexicon, never has the onus on… Read more »

The Evolution of Company/Shareholder Engagement

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, November 2013, written by John Wilson, formerly the Director of Corporate Governance at TIAA-CREF and Director of Socially Responsible Investing at Christian Brothers Investment Services. The most important discussions today are taking place not across organizations but within them. Sustainability professionals both in investment organizations… Read more »

Sustainability Metrics in Executive Pay: The Example of the Energy Sector

Extract from the Cornerstone Journal of Sustainable Finance & Banking, October 2013, written by Kimberly Gladman, Research Director of the Just Capital Foundation. Amid growing investor interest in the ways that corporations manage sustainability issues, executive pay plans are receiving heightened scrutiny. Many companies say they value environmental and social performance, but do they structure… Read more »