Philip Angelides, California state treasurer, said public pension funds would not invest in corporations that do not meet the "highest standards" of conduct. "Today is the beginning of a new power in the shareholder movement," Mr. Angelides said today after a meeting in New York of officials from 17 public funds with a combined $1 trillion in assets.
"As the largest owners of American companies, we control 46% of the U.S. stock market through pension funds and have a responsibility to expect the highest standards of conduct," Mr. Angelides said. "There is no true reform unless shareholders use their power to change corporate behavior. If they're not accountable to the highest standards, we'll take our business elsewhere."
Key issues discussed were eliminating conflicts of interest between research analysts and investment banks; ensuring that recently enacted reforms are promptly implemented and enforced; and condemning publicly held companies that relocate offshore in name only to avoid taxes and weaken shareholder protections.
The meeting was organized by Mr. Angelides; H. Carl McCall, New York state comptroller; and Richard Moore, North Carolina state treasurer.