NBIM Makes the Case Against Bundled Board Votes


Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), manager of Norway’s massive sovereign wealth fund, publicly issued a position paper titled, “Individual Vote Count in Board Elections.” The paper thoughtfully presents a case, arguing in favor that corporate board directors “should be elected with an individual vote count at the shareholder meeting, and the vote tally published.”

Baby Steps

As asset owners like Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), CPPIB, OTPP, CalPERS, CalSTRS and APG (an alphabet soup of public institutional investors) continue to grow in size and invest directly into listed equities, the rules of corporate governance are in for slight modifications. Globally, the majority of listed company board elections go uncontested, becoming more of a recognized approval process. JPMorgan & Chase CEO Jamie Dimon won his pay plan, but won at a lower approval rate, at a recent company shareholder meeting. This outcome was partially influenced by proxy advisory firms such as ISS or Glass Lewis, advising shareholders how to vote.

For 2014, JPMorgan posted a record profit of US$ 21.8 billion. Dimon fired back. On May 28, 2014, at an investor conference, CNBC reported, “God knows how any of you can place your vote based on ISS or Glass Lewis,” Dimon said. “If you do that you are just irresponsible, I am sorry. And, you probably aren’t a very good investor, either. I know some of you here do it because you are lazy.”

Bundled Board Elections

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