Boston, MA — March 21, 2012. Trillium Asset Management, LLC (“Trillium”) is pleased to announce the withdrawal of three 2012 shareholder resolutions related to corporate political spending.
Trillium has recently withdrawn resolutions filed with Chubb Corp. (NYSE – CB), State Street Corp. (NYSE – STT) and Halliburton Company (NYSE – HAL) after the companies committed to make improvement in their transparency and accountability in their corporate spending on political activities.
“As long-term investors, Trillium is concerned that gaps in transparency and accountability expose companies to reputational and business risks that could threaten long-term shareholder value. Publicly available data does not provide a complete picture of a company’s political spending,” said Shelley Alpern, Vice President of Trillium Asset Management. “We applaud Chubb, Halliburton and State Street for recognizing the risks involved in political spending, and mitigating them with stronger governance processes and greater transparency,” Ms. Alpern added.
This was the first resolution related to corporate political spending that Trillium has filed with Chubb Corporation. Chubb has agreed to disclose direct and indirect contributions made to political candidates, committees or tax exempt organizations engaging in political activities, with names of recipients and amounts contributed, listed by category.
Similar resolutions filed with Halliburton received substantial and increasing shareholder support over the past two years, garnering 30 percent of shareholder votes in 2010 and 46 percent in 2011. “Halliburton’s policies – which were fairly restrictive to begin with — will be stated more clearly as a result of our dialogue, and its disclosures will cover any payments made to independent committees and any political spending done with its payments to trade association,” Alpern commented. “The company told us that it does not make contributions to federal or state candidates, 501c-4’s or 527 committees.”
A resolution concerning corporate political spending was filed with State Street Corp. in 2011 and received 44 percent of shareholder support. State Street made a number of significant improvements to its disclosures and policies, including prohibiting its trade organizations from using its membership dues for political contributions and activities (including contributions to 527s) and agreeing to disclose its political contributions to 527s and tax-exempt organizations.
“We are delighted that State Street has taken this prudent step which is in the best interests of the company and its investors. We worked with the company for two years on questions surrounding political spending disclosure and believe this is an important development in the financial services industry,” said Jonas Kron, Vice President of Trillium Asset Management.
“With Trillium’s help, the number of companies adopting political spending disclosure has hit 100,” said Bruce F. Freed, president of the Center for Political Accountability. “It reflects growing acceptance of the need to address the heightened risks posed by political spending.”
Contact: Shelley Alpern, Trillium Asset Management (617) 423-6655
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Trillium Asset Management, LLC is the oldest independent investment advisor devoted exclusively to sustainable and responsible investing. With over $970 million in assets under management, Trillium has been managing equity and fixed income investments for high net worth individuals, foundations, endowments, religious institutions, and other nonprofits, since 1982. A leader in shareholder advocacy and public policy work, Trillium’s goal is to deliver both impact and performance to its investors.