Equal Opportunities: Boardroom Diversity

The Issue: Boardroom Diversity

  • Evidence is piling up that companies with women on their boards outperform those without. Credit Suisse, McKinsey & Co and Catalyst  have all released studies indicating return on sales, return on equity and return on invested capital are higher when gender diversity exists on the board of directors and/or in senior management. Despite this evidence, women still hold only 19% and 23% of board positions at public companies in the US and Europe respectively. The numbers are considerably worse in other parts of the globe. And this under-representation should be a concern both for society and for investors.

Actions

  • Shareholder Proposals:  we co-filed shareholder proposals with  Cognizant Technologies and  Discovery Communications on Boardroom Diversity

Proxy voting

  • How we voted:   we vote against the nomination of directors with fewer than two women on the board AND at least one racial minority for portfolio companies in the U.S
  • We will use results from the recent voting season to  identify companies for direct engagement over 2016-2017

Impact

  • We were able to withdraw our gender diversity proposal at Cognizant after the board of directors amended is corporate governance guidelines to specify gender and other forms of diversity  as considerations in director searches. Vote at Discovery earned 17% – slightly lower than the previous year.

 

 

 

The information in this document should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. There is no assurance that any securities discussed in this report will remain in an account’s portfolio at the time you read this document. The securities discussed do not represent an account’s entire portfolio and may represent only a small portion of an account’s holdings. It should not be assumed that any securities transactions we discuss were or will prove to be profitable. Past performance does not guarantee future results. All investments involve risk, including the risk of losing principal.

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