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Glass Lewis, ISS Defend Environmental and Social Voting Recommendations

US proxy advisers Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) have defended their corporate voting recommendations on environmental and social matters in the face of scrutiny from attorneys general of 21 Republican states. Both insist they “remain focused on long-term shareholder value”, despite the red state attorneys general claiming their guidance on issues such as climate change and boardroom diversity may violate their duties to clients. The two organisations provide suggestions on how clients, including pension plans, should vote on issues such as electing board members and signing off on executive pay at corporate annual meetings. Kevin Cameron, Executive Chairman at Glass Lewis, rebuffed the allegations in a response letter where he noted that clients “can and routinely do vote differently than our benchmark policy” and the organisation does not “seek to persuade” clients to vote “in any particular way on a ballot item”. 

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