Commentary

ESG Versus Impact Investing

This article originally appeared in Forbes on February 28, 2020. There is absolutely nothing wrong with senior management and directors of companies across America reviewing, analyzing, measuring and integrating into company operations, a focus on environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) considerations. Nor is it a new concept. As one general counsel of a Fortune 200 company […]

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The SEC Is Right To Force More Transparency Into Proxy Voting

This article originally appeared in Forbes on January 31, 2020.  The Securities and Exchange Commission is about to take an important first step in bringing accountability and transparency to the proxy voting world. For far too long pension funds have off-loaded their fiduciary duty to their beneficiaries to proxy advisory firms by outsourcing to them, the review […]

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COMMENTARY: Senate Banking Hearing with SEC Chairman Must Address Proxy Advisory Firms

This article originally appeared in Morning Consult on December 10th, 2019.  On Dec. 10, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will hold an oversight hearing on the Securities and Exchange Commission. Among all of the SEC’s priorities, the Senate Banking Committee should raise the topic of proxy advisory reform. With the public […]

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COMMENTARY: Take Politics Out Of Public Pension Plans

This op-ed originally appeared in Forbes on November 4th, 2019.  Ahead of the Great Recession of 2008-2009, housing prices were increasing by about 5% every year between 1998 and 2006. Yet major publications and almost all pundits missed the signs of impending disaster. More than seven million Americans lost their homes and millions more lost […]

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COMMENTARY: Safeguarding the pensions of public employees; With proxy reforms the SEC takes a first step in improving the health of U.S. pension funds

This op-ed originally appeared in The Washington Times on October 8th, 2019. Nearly a year after it held a roundtable on the topic, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Aug. 21 issued “an interpretation that proxy voting advice provided by proxy advisory firms generally constitutes a ‘solicitation’ under the federal proxy rules.” This is a […]

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Opinion/Letter: NY pensions deserve protection – Richard Brower in New York Daily News

This Letter to the Editor originally appeared in New York Daily News on September 21, 2019. Rockville Centre, L.I.: Re “Don’t be fuelish, Tom,” (Sept. 2): New York’s retirees served the state all of their lives. As a former vice chairman of the FDNY Pension Fund and advisory board member for the Institute for Pension Fund […]

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Opinion/Letter: Divestment vote was doubly wrong – Christopher Burnham in the Charlottesville Daily Progress

This letter to the Editor originally appeared in the Charlottesville The Daily Progress on August 13, 2019 Charlottesville voted to divest from fossil fuels and national defense companies. The City Council of Charlottesville seeks to disassociate itself from companies that fuel our cars, heat our schools and businesses, or support our armed forces. As a Virginian and […]

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COMMENTARY: It’s Proxy Season And Here’s Why That Matters For Public Pensions

This op-ed originally appeared in Forbes on June 13, 2019. This is the time of year when publicly traded companies host their annual shareholder meetings. During these meetings the shareholders vote their shares on various issues impacting the company. The company’s proxy statement will include shareholder resolutions on everything from executive pay to proposals that impact how the company […]

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COMMENTARY: State Pension Funds Shouldn’t be Captive to Politics

This op-ed originally appeared in The Buffalo News on June 09, 2019. The politicization of pensions continues plaguing our state. In a misguided effort to fight climate change, State Sen. Liz Krueger introduced Senate bill 2126, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, earlier this year. This prompted an open letter from New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, urging Krueger to reconsider […]

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