Proxy Advisers - cosy and intransparent cartel

Who gives the handful of proxy advisers to right to set their own 'policies'?
Do they ever ask the real end investor, - and not only the intermediaries that pay hefty fees with other peoples' money?
Why does it seem impossible for real end investors - and the public at large - to find out the fees that are paid to proxy firms so that they can do the work that the financial intermediaries should be doing, i.e. supervising the companies they invest in on behalf of the great unwashed public?
(10-Feb-2019)
ISS Policies on Compensation 

Board Evaluation -but who evaluates the evaluators?

Well intended maybe, but who evaluates the evaluators, and so on...
(10-Feb-2019)

Board Evaluation Disclosures - Council of Institutional Investors

Does UBS Chairman really deserve $ 6 Mio?

Or is he just an extremely well-paid PR operator? If American firms can get by without a separate Chairman is keeping such expensive staffers a necessary expense? Any decent IR professional could front such an announcement. Does anyone in the Corporate Governance crowd really care?
(22-Jan-2019)
UBS sees outflows of $13 Million

Blackrock's Larry Fink - confused or mischievous?

Interesting comment about Larry Fink's sudden commitment to better governance. Problem is, with his compensation he is sitting in the proverbial glasshouse. And in addition, as Alex Brummer correctly pointed out, Blackrock's governance policies are nebulous. No good hiring more and more governance 'experts' when they are left without clear guidelines. And the poor end investor (in most cases shielded from having any input into said guidelines by being only indirectly invested - via fiduciaries in pension funds, private banks or assorted platforms) is left standing in front of a closed 'governance universe' where self-appointed guardians of his interest are mostly talking to themselves.
The other interpretation of the half-hearted approach to governance would be that it is just another tool in the marketing arsenal of investment managers - grown out of necessity in order to follow the 'Zeitgeist' dominated by unaccountable pressure groups or lobbies.
(19-Jan-2019)
Larry Fink at Blackrock: Talk the walk, but need to walk the talk 

Yesterday I cam across another comment on Fink's letter - what do you think?
Naked Capitalism 

Chairman - a cushy sinecure for the Establisment

Looking at Philip Hampton's numerous board memberships one can notice one thing: not one of the companies he passed through can be seen as a thorough success - look at the list and point out one if you can find it! British obsession with the role of Chairmen is somewhat similar with the obsession of pack the House of Lords with superfluous worthies!
(21-Jan-2019)
About Philip Hampton
GSK Chairman to retire



Disclosure of Corporate Political Spending - just another box-ticking exercise?

So what is the benefit if end-investors know how the companies they hold shares in spend money on political causes? No point disclosing, it might just raise the blood pressure of those who disagree with specific donations. And what about spending by the vast - and growing - universe of quasi 'Private' companies in the PE sector? They are as much owned by Joe Six pack and do not give the slightest look in about their political or other lobby spending.
(20-Jan-2019)
Mutual Fund Voting on Corporate Disclosure 

Give Real End-Investor control of proxy voting

The current system of allowing fiduciaries such as Pension Funds, Mutual Funds or Private Banks discretion over proxy voting is broken. In an age of Internet and seamless information flows it should be easy to change the system. While most investors would be hopelessly challenged a system of delegated voting via proxy firms would be appropriate. They would declare their policies and investors could choose the proxy firm that most closely matches their preferences. Even a sort of 'mix and match' of policies on individual issues could be envisaged.
(20-Jan-2019)
How to fix the unhealthy concentration of corporate voting power 

Private Equity Boards not much better than those in Listed Companies

Not clear why boards in listed companies could not make speedy decisions - if the will and skillset are there. At least boards in listed companies are more transparent as fiduciaries and often real investors can see the impact of their actions more directly.
(16-Jan-2019)
60 seconds with Bill Priestley

What do Non-Executive Board Members bring to the Party?

News that hospitality veteran James Horler resigned from Patisserie Valerie's board raises the question: what purpose to outside board members play? If they are excused from supervising the nitty-gritty of a company's accounts are they then left with being a sounding board and in-house giver of strategic advice? And who are they accountable to?
(16-Jan-2019)
James Horler resigns fro Patisserie Valerie Board

AntiTrust massively eroded - Should Fiduciaries care?

Should Investors - and their hired hands in the Fund Management/Private Banking Industry - really care if Oligopolies and Monopolies are not held in check? Higher profits at the cost of higher inequality may be attractive in a Darwinian world but how does this fit in with the current focus on ESG, SRI and Impact Investing?
(9-Jan-2019)
Why the Regulators went soft on Monopolies