Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner today released an overview of the State's shareholder engagement activities during the past shareholder season, which includes actions to encourage gender and ethnic diversity on corporate boards, protect consumers from fraud and predatory lending practices, and push energy companies to disclose the amount of shareholder money spent on lobbying efforts at all levels of government.
"As investors, we are pushing companies to make responsible decisions that consider the long-term future of their company so that it is sustainable for years to come," said Treasurer Magaziner. "This year we continued to push for diversity among corporate board members; engaged with Wells Fargo after their massive consumer fraud affected millions of Americans; fought to uphold consumer's rights to have their student loan debt restructured to fit their income; and told energy companies to 'come clean' about practices aimed at influencing lawmakers who are tasked with regulating their industry."
Each year, publicly-traded companies seek votes from shareholders on items that are pending on their annual proxy ballots. The items that shareholders can vote on range from the approval of boards of directors and executive pay packages to social and environmental proposals submitted by investors.
This year, Rhode Island voted against re-electing Wells Fargo's Board of Directors following disclosure of widespread consumer fraud that was perpetrated on the bank's own customers. The fund also voted against executive compensation proposals at 59 companies, including Wal-Mart, American Express, and Charter Communications; companies at which performance wasn't aligned with the proposed pay package.
Rhode Island Treasury filed or co-filed lobbying disclosure shareholder proposals at Chevron, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhilips and Devon Energy, requesting that the companies disclose to shareholders how and where they are spending corporate funds on lobbying, especially on the state level.
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You can read more information at http://investments.treasury.ri.gov/proxy/
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