Commentary

Commentary: BlackRock’s new ESG priority is probably about collecting more fees

This article originally appeared in ValueWalk on May 28, 2020. BlackRock has been moving to redefine its identity from a firm focused on index investing to a firm that emphasizes ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) investing. However, one organization argues that this move is less about doing something good for investors and more about enabling BlackRock […]

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Commentary: BlackRock’s ESG Strategy Plays Politics with Public Pensions

This article originally appeared in Barron’s on May 28, 2020. In a relatively short time, BlackRock has become the largest asset manager in the world. The firm built its impressive franchise as a low-fee, efficient provider of index portfolios. Now, however, Larry Fink, the mortgage-bond trader who founded the firm in 1988 and has been CEO ever […]

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Open Letter: Congress should reconsider banks’ government guarantees if the banks abuse their fiduciary duty

Recently, a group of 19 U.S. Senators sent a letter to the Small Business Administration, Treasury Department, and Federal Reserve raising concerns that several major financial institutions may be inclined to withhold support for certain industries through the Paycheck Protection Program and other COVID-19 relief efforts. The industries in question – the energy sector, federal […]

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Commentary: The SEC’s New Rules For Proxy Advisory Firms Are A Key Step Toward Accountability

This article originally appeared in Forbes on April 30, 2020. In a recent Op-Ed in Barron’s , four current state treasurers argue that the SEC’s proposed rules for proxy advisory firms are a harmful overstep by the agency tasked with protecting investors and promoting the creation of wealth in this country. As the former State Treasurer of Connecticut, I […]

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In Case You Missed It: IPFI Has Been Busy Fighting For Public Pensions

See below for a round-up of the latest material from IPFI: SEC Rulemaking and What It Means for Proxy Advisory Firms “The SEC recently announced proposed rules aimed at addressing the outsized influence of proxy advisory firms, restoring much-needed protections to the proxy voting process and those who bear the financial consequences of the decisions […]

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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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