As an advocate of shareholder activism, I seldom see more than one or two shareholder proposals on proxy statements. However, yesterday’s JP Morgan shareholder meeting contained 7 shareholder proposals and had me smiling like a kid in a candy store. Now this is what shareholder advocacy is supposed to look like.
Considering the bank’s recent lost bet of $2 billion in derivative trading and CEO Jamie Dimon’s $23 million pay package, this is an opportune time to perhaps take a brief look at what small and big shareholders were advocating for at one of the world’s largest banks:
Proposal 4 — Political non-partisanship. Famous activist Evelyn Y. Davis asked for political neutrality to avoid entanglements with certain political parties which could become detrimental to its business.
Proposal 5 — Independent director as chairman. Federal and State employees organization AFSCME Pension Plan addressed the fact that CEO James Dimon also serves as chairman of the Company’s board of directors. This combination of roles has the possibility of harming a corporation’s governance policies.
Proposal 6 — Loan servicing. The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church requested the Board of Directors to oversee development and enforcement of policies to ensure that loans that are in default or foreseeable default are adequately modified. In other words, it asked JP Morgan to make an attempt to help those that have defaulted due to their own poor lending practices.
Proposal 7 — Corporate political contributions report. Domini Social Equity Fund asked for more transparency and accountability with political contributions.
Proposal 8 — Genocide-free investing. Mr. William L. Rosenfeld asked the company to avoid investments in companies who are connected to genocide.
Proposal 9 — Shareholder action by written consent. Mr. Kenneth Steiner requested the company undertake steps necessary to permit written consent by shareholders entitled to cast the minimum number of votes to authorize the action at a meeting at which all shareholders entitled to vote thereon were present and voting.
Proposal 10 — Stock retention. Mr. Ray T. Chevedden urged the company to adopt a policy requiring that senior executives retain a significant percentage of stock acquired through equity pay programs until one year following the termination of their employment.
Hopefully, more annual corporate proxy statements start to look like this as shareholders learn of the power of owning stock in public corporations.