The Investment Committee of the California Public Employees Retirement System is scheduled to meet next Monday in Sacramento. Anne Simpson, CalPERS’ Director of Corporate Governance, is scheduled to provide the Committee with an overview of the fund’s second quarter proxy voting activities.
As compared to the second quarter of 2011, CalPERS voted at fewer meetings and on fewer resolutions worldwide. The number of meetings declined 3.3% to 6,847 and the number of resolutions declined 6.1% to 67,072. I’m skeptical of these numbers, however. If they are accurate, CalPERS would have voted on an average of 9.8 resolutions per meeting. I haven’t researched the question, but 9.8 seems to be a very high number for an average (especially when CalPERS states that only 670 of these resolutions were stockholder proposals).
Averages are, of course, dangerous. I’ve been reading Melvin I. Urofsky’s Louis D. Brandeis: A Life. In this wonderful biography, Professor Urofsky relates the future Justice Brandeis’ view of averages:
I abhor averages. I like the individual case. A man may have six meals one day and none the next, making an average of three per day, but that is not a good way to live.
Ms. Simpson will also report that in the second quarter of this year, CalPERS supported 88% of management proposals and only 65% of stockholder proposals. In her report she also notes:
CalPERS filed proposals at three companies that won support from a majority of shareowners – Nabors Industries, Chesapeake Energy, and New York Bancorp.