NYC Pension Funds File Board Diversity Proposals at 4 Firms

The city’s comptroller calls for disclosure of board members’ race and gender at Capital One, Las Vegas Sands, NextEra Energy and Caesars.

New York City’s comptroller has filed shareholder proposals on behalf of three of the city’s five pension systems, calling for board members at Capital One, Las Vegas Sands, NextEra Energy and Caesars Entertainment to disclose “race, gender, and relevant skills and attributes.” 


The three systems—the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System—had $189.33 million invested in NextEra Energy Inc., $65 million in Capital One Financial Corp., $23.7 million in Las Vegas Sands Corp. and $21.5 million in Caesars Entertainment Inc., as of the end of February.


The office of New York City comptroller Brad Lander announced it has reached agreements to disclose the same information with nine other companies so far this proxy season. Lander’s office cited research from DiversIQ that found that 44.7% of all S&P 500 companies disclose gender and race/ethnicity for each individual director, up from only 3.7% in 2019.


The proposals insist a diverse board brings different perspectives and insights to decisionmaking processes and promotes transparency and accountability in a company. They also state that a diverse board has the potential to improve corporate performance and preserve long-term shareholder value.


“Understanding who makes up the board of a company is an important factor for investors to assess the board’s ability to provide oversight and effectively manage risks,” Lander said in a statement. “Companies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their boardrooms signal to their employees, customers, suppliers, and investors that they value different perspectives that will nurture long-term success.”


Lander singled out NextEra, the pension funds’ biggest holding among the firms, citing concern over the lack of disclosure of director experience in overseeing the long-term risks the company faces related to climate change.


The proposals are part of the comptroller’s office’s Boardroom Accountability Project 2.0, launched by former comptroller Scott Stringer in 2017, with the intention of establishing a new standard for transparency, diversity and inclusion in corporate governance practices. The project involves filing board diversity proposals at companies, engaging with portfolio companies and advocating for best practices in corporate governance.


“Through releasing their board member racial and gender composition to investors, companies are incentivized to create boards that reflect our communities and encourage more equitable workplaces,” Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, a NYCERS trustee, said in a statement.


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