Government Funds Urge Proxy Access in Financial Reform Bill
Provision giving shareholders access to nominate corporate directors draws strong endorsement.

News release

 WEST SACRAMENTO, CA  – A nationwide organization of state and local government pension funds and plan sponsors, including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Association and the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, today supported corporate governance reforms contained in a financial regulatory reform bill introduced this week by Sen.Christopher Dodd, D-Connecticut.

The joint letter to Sen. Dodd, who serves as the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, says corporate governance reforms contained in the bill, including the proxy access provisions, “will provide investors with the necessary tools to ensure appropriate transparency, accountability, and management of risk at the corporate level.

“We have a keen interest in ensuring that these companies operate with transparency through the board of directors, financial reports, and methods of communication with investors, have a board and a management that are clearly accountable for properly serving the interests of the business and its owners, and appropriately manage risk to promote the long-term health of the business,” the letter said.

State and local government pension funds and plan sponsors who signed the letter (see attachment), represent more than 6.8 million active and retired employees with combined assets of $1 trillion and annual benefit payments to retirees and their families totaling more than $47 billion. Public plans as a whole distribute more than $160 billion annually in retirement and disability benefits..

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, with a portfolio valued at $132.6 billion, is the second largest pension fund in the United States. It administers retirement, disability and survivor benefits for California’s 848,000 public school educators and their families from the state’s 1,400 school districts, county offices of education and community college districts.