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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The ESG Perversion of Shareholder Resolutions

By Benjamin Zycher Washington Examiner May 24, 2023

Back in the old days — oh, before, say, 2021 — the annual general meetings of company shareholders were boring. Questions asked of management more or less uniformly oriented toward the financial condition of the firm and the variables affecting the values of the shareholders’ stakes. How is the firm dealing with exchange rate risk? Are any major assets of the firm underperforming, and what does management propose to do about it? Why are costs rising faster than revenues? How does management justify its ever-bigger bonuses, other than declining golf handicaps?

After all, companies are supposed to be in business to make money for shareholders, the owners, by producing things that consumers value..............Oh, how matters have changed under Gensler. The right of management to respond to proxy recommendations has been revoked. The application of Rule 14a-8 has been changed to force consideration of resolutions of “wider societal interest,” yielding a predictable surge in the number of proposals having far less to do with shareholder value than with the latest fashions in environmental, social, and governance political imperatives. Now, during companies’ annual shareholder meetings, both activists and the proxy advisory firms pursue the timeless joy of spending other people’s money on such topics as climate change .............The environmental leftist industry comprises thousands of similar entities engaged in legalized protection rackets funded by various left-wing foundations. 

But the real opprobrium in this context should be reserved for Gensler. It is he who has been all too happy to shunt aside the SEC’s advertised role as a protector of investors, promoter of fairness in securities markets, and facilitator of informed decisions and confident investments by investors, in favor of a facilitation of politicized securities markets.............To Read More...

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