Statement by CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer Jack Ehnes on the SEC’s Proposed Rule for Granting Shareholders Access to the Proxy
The Securities and Exchange Commission took a major step today in recognizing that shareholders have a fundamental right to have access to the proxy. However, questions remain as to the triggers that are being proposed; we need triggers that are responsive to the corporate crises of the past year, and we must define appropriate threshold s for these triggering events. The final rule should be sensitive to the very issues concerning corporate financial malfeasance that have plagued our markets.
CalSTRS is committed to making recommendations to the SEC that will support reasonable and balanced thresholds. As long-term owners, we know full well that this rule can provide needed shareholder protections that serve to strengthen our market system. We also urge business organizations that might actively oppose its adoption to understand its limited application and recognize that investors both large and small support this important right.
As Californians, we understand the power of the ballot. We now stand in sight of the finish line after many years of moving forward and backwards on the issue of shareholder access – it is time to take this final step in support of shareholders. In the coming weeks, our board will be reviewing the proposal and making formal comment to the SEC. We will also be encouraging our nearly three-quarter million members to make their concerns known.
CalSTRS is the third largest public pension fund in the U.S., with a $105 billion investment portfolio. The pension system serves approximately 715,000 members and benefit recipients by providing retirement, disability and survivor benefits to California’s public school educators in grades kindergarten through community college. Those benefits are guaranteed by law and are not affected by changes in the investment portfolio.