Goldman Sachs will not be running for office anytime soon, although you probably already assumed that.
One of the highlights of covering Wall Street – or any sector, really – is shareholder proposal season, when investors, some of whom own just a handful of shares, ask firms to put their ideas up for a proxy vote at the annual investor meeting.
Many are serious proposals, put together by large shareholder groups or activist investors demanding a change in the structure of the company. Others are used to make a point, create debate or just to have some fun. Here’s one that falls somewhere between the three.
Harrington Investments President John Harrington submitted a proposal last year asking Goldman Sachs to end its political contributions, and instead run for office, according to Bloomberg. The idea is based on a Supreme Court statute that suggests corporations have similar political rights to individuals. It appears the proposal was an ironic statement meant to shine light on the influence big banks already have in Washington.
Goldman, or any firm that receives a shareholder request, can’t just toss the letter in the trash and say no. It had to ask the Securities and Exchange Commission to discard the call-to-vote, which it just did.
As odd as the proposal sounds, it fails to beat out last year’s call-to-vote submitted by Nomura shareholders, who asked the bank to install Japanese-style toilets to strengthen “legs and loins” of employees, literally encouraging them to “hunker down.”
If you want to check out additional proposals, get a job with the SEC. The commission employs around 20 staffers whose only job is to review the validity of shareholder ideas.
One that was accepted by the SEC this year is a proposal to strip Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein of his chairman role. That vote will take place in May.
A cover letter is an opportunity to differentiate yourself from a stack of similar resumes. But more so, it’s a chance for hiring managers to weed out candidates who show poor judgment.
A civil case filed against six former directors of Morgan Keegan by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission could have a “significant impact” on the desire for people to become mutual-fund directors.
Asset management firms, which in the past have given underperforming employees a fairly long rope, are becoming more ruthless in upgrading their staff.
Bank of America’s latest round of job cuts included two global equities heads: Ben Samuels in London and Bruce Robb in New York. Roughly 30 trading and sales staffers have been let go this month.
Lloyds Banking Group paid 25 executives more than $1.52 million last year, meaning more than 750 employees across the U.K.’s four largest banks broke that pay threshold last year.
Several former J.P. Morgan Cazenove bankers have landed on their feet, finding work at two advisory firms owned by ex-Robert Fleming executives: Strand Partners and Merlin Partners.
Stumbling hedge fund manager Philip Falcone is borrowing millions against personal real estate property in New York and the Caribbean. Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Management has seen its assets under management fall 90 percent over the last few years.
The Children’s Investment Fund has stopped donating a percentage of its fees to the charitable foundation that for which it is named. Contributions stopped “mainly because the foundation is large enough.”
Buzz Around the Office
A 53-year-old Canadian woman was arrested for DUI after showing up at a police station drunk. She was attempting to bail out her 27-year-old son, who had just been arrested on the same charge.
List of the Day: Productivity
Feel the need to be more focused at work? Try following these tips.
- Use your breaks to network.
- Commit a set amount of time to one project, and don’t waffle.
- Create artificial deadlines that are tough to meet.