Webinar: Proxy Voting and Shareholder Engagement for Endowments
Date: February 27, 2017, 12:30 - 1:30 PM ET
The webinar will provide an overview of the value of proxy voting and additional forms of engagement for endowments that are involved in commingled funds through an outsourced CIO – including the current landscape, trends, specific issues, and why it is important for investors. Guidelines and opportunities of how to take action will also be provided.
- Heidi Welsh, Executive Director at Sustainable Investments Institute
- Natasha Lamb, Director of Equity Research and Shareholder Engagement, Arjuna Capital
- Tim Smith, Director of ESG Shareholder Engagement, Walden Asset Management
- Moderator: Jacquelyn Smith, Senior Fellow, Intentional Endowments Network
Natasha Lamb, Managing Partner, Director of Equity Research & Shareholder Engagement, Arjuna Capital
Natasha integrates Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into Arjuna’s investment process while engaging major corporations to improve their performance through shareholder advocacy. Previously, Natasha was Vice President, Shareholder Advocacy and Corporate Engagement, and an Equity Analyst at Trillium Asset Management. Read full bio...
Heidi Welsh, Executive Director, Sustainable Investing Institute
Heidi Welsh, the founding executive director of the Sustainable Investments Institute (Si2), has analyzed and written about corporate responsibility issues for more than two decades. She oversees Si2's operations and research. Read full bio...
Tim Smith, Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement, Walden Asset Management, Boston Trust
Tim Smith serves as the Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement at Walden Asset Management, a division of Boston Trust & Investment Management Company. Walden has been a leader in sustainable and responsible investing (SRI) since 1975. As of December 30, 2016, Walden managed approximately $3 billion in assets for individual and institutional clients. Read full bio...
- Intentional Endowments Network Shareholder Engagement Resources
- DOL, Interpretive Bulletin Relating to the Exercise of Shareholder Rights and Written Statements of Investment Policy, including Proxy Voting Policies or Guidelines - IB 2016-1 (page 11)
- Updated Regulatory Guidance on Proxy Voting and ESG
- Engaging Investment Manager's on Proxy Voting and Other Forms of Shareholder Engagement
- Ceres Report, Mutual fund companies show record high support for climate change shareholder resolutions
- Ceres Report, Shareholders Spur Action on Climate Change: Company Commitments from the 2014-2015 Proxy Seasons
- UN PRI website declaring how investors vote their proxies, coming in March
Examples of Endowment Proxy Voting Guidelines:
- Stanford University: Social Issue Proxy Voting Policy Statements and Guidelines
- Dickinson College: SRI Proxy Voting Principles
- Carleton College: Responsible Investment Committee - Proxy Voting Pre-approval Policy
- Columbia University: Advisory Committee for Socially Responsible Investing Proxy Voting Guidelines
- University of Pennsylvania: Statement on Responsibility Concerning Endowment Securities - Proxy Voting and Social Responsibility Advisory Committee
- Harvard University: Shareholder Responsibility Committees and Corporation Committee on Shareholder Responsibility Annual Report, 2014-2015
Proxy voting can be a powerful tool for improving corporate performance on social and environmental sustainability issues to enhance long-term value. Increasingly, stakeholders are calling for endowments to be more active owners, and many argue that doing so is a responsibility of fiduciaries.
This webinar (from July 13th, 2016) provides a basic overview of proxy voting, including:
- A recap of the 2016 proxy season (what were the big issues and results?)
- Mechanics of how to vote proxies (how do we do it?)
- Effectiveness of proxy voting (what impact does it have on companies and society?)
- Proxy voting by external managers (how can we have a say in proxy voting if we don’t own the shares directly?)
- Resources required for proxy voting (how much time and money will it require to do this?)
- Moderator: Sonal Mahida, Director, Intentional Endowments Network
- Heidi Welsh, Executive Director, Sustainable Investments Institute
- Laura Campos, Director of Shareholder Activities, Nathan Cummings Foundation
Heidi Welsh, Executive Director, Sustainable Investments Institute
Heidi Welsh, Executive Director of the Sustainable Investments Institute, oversees Si2’s impartial, in-depth research about proxy season and corporate responsibility issues for institutional investors, including some of the largest North American pension funds and leading colleges and universities. In addition, she was the lead author on two studies about the corporate governance of political spending in the S&P 500 published with the IRRC Institute. Previously, Welsh worked at the Investor Responsibility Research Center and for 16 years ran a monitoring program on corporate fair employment practices in Northern Ireland, while also analyzing shareholder proposals. She co-authored the 2007 Carbon Disclosure Project report on the S&P 500 and set up a global sustainability metrics project for RiskMetrics analyzing 1,800 of the world’s biggest companies. She holds a B.A. from Carleton College, cum laude, and an M.S. from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.
Laura Campos, Director of Shareholder Activities, Nathan Cummings Foundation
Ms. Campos has more than a decade of experience engaging public corporations on topics ranging from climate change to executive compensation. As the director of shareholder activities for the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Laura is active in numerous outside groups and shareholder coalitions focusing on responsible investment practices, including the Investor Network on Climate Risk and the Principles for Responsible Investment. She serves on the Principles for Responsible Investment’s Small and Resource-Constrained Funds Steering Committee and is a member of the Advisory Board of ProxyDemocracy. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The International Business Times, among others.
Prior experience includes serving as a Financial Advisor Associate at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Laura has also worked on projects for the Arcus Foundation, the Aga Khan Foundation and Christian Aid.
Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the College of Wooster and an MSc, Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Sonal Mahida, Director, Intentional Endowments Network
Sonal Mahida comes to IEN with over 15 years of experience in the field. During her career Sonal has worked on ESG investing and sustainability issues at institutional investors, S&P 500, Fortune 500 companies, as well as non-profits.
As Head of North America for the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), she developed and led initiatives to aid U.S. and Canadian investors in the practice and implementation of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) integration and risk management. Prior to joining PRI, Sonal worked on corporate sustainability at Hess. Previously, she was Vice President of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), where she managed the organization’s US activities and was a Senior Governance Analyst at TIAA-CREF, where she led ESG dialogues and engagements with portfolio companies, as well as proxy voting analysis. Sonal is a frequent speaker at investment conferences. She has been a guest on Bloomberg MarketMakers and her work has been covered in in Forbes, Greenbiz, and industry publications.
Sonal holds a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Boston University's School of Management