AIG, others meet New York City pension funds' calls on employee diversity

The five New York City pension funds withdrew proposals filed jointly at American International Group Inc., Bank of New York Mellon (BK) Corp. (BK) and U.S. Bancorp after the companies agreed to provide annual disclosure on the composition of their U.S.-based workforces by race and gender, according to a statement from city Comptroller John C. Liu, who oversees the combined $130 billion in assets of the pension funds.

In addition, the New York City pension funds jointly filed similar proposals at Omnicom Group Inc. and Interpublic Group of Cos. Mr. Liu and his representatives are still in discussions with the two companies on disclosure of their workforces' race and gender, said spokeswoman Stephanie Hoo.

Also, the pension funds filed jointly proposals at CF Industries Holdings Inc. and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., calling for the inclusion of women and minority candidates in the pool of candidates the companies use for considering for their boards as well as expanding their searches to include non-traditional environments such as government, academia and non-profit groups.

The agreements and pending proposals are “part of a broad push by the (New York City) funds to promote diversity and equality” at companies in the pension funds' investment portfolios, the statement said.

“Diversity is good for the bottom line, but without meaningful disclosure there is no way for shareowners to evaluate the effectiveness of a company's efforts to recruit and promote women and minorities,” Mr. Liu said in the statement.