J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. shareholders on Tuesday rejected an advisory proposal co-sponsored by three pension funds calling for an independent chairman, endorsing the dual roles of chairman and CEO of Jamie Dimon.
Shareholders voted 32.2% in support of the proposal, introduced by the $1 billion American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Pension Plan, Washington, and co-sponsored by the $127.5 billion New York City Retirement Systems, pension funds and the $26.3 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans & Trust Funds, Hartford. Hermes Fund Managers, which is owned by the £36 billion ($55 billion) BT Pension Scheme, London, also co-sponsored the proposal.
The company opposed the proposal, as did the $168.5 billion Florida State Board of Administration.
The $265.5 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, $163.7 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System, the C$183.3 billion (US$178.5 billion) Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the $90 billion State of Wisconsin Investment Board and $1 billion American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Pension Plan all voted in favor of the proposal.
In addition, proxy voting adviser firms Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis both recommended shareholders vote in favor of the proposal.
Lee Saunders, AFSCME president who also serves as the chair of the pension committee of the AFSCME plan, said in a statement: “The effort doesn't end today. There is still a clear conflict of interest when a company's board of directors, which is responsible for overseeing the company's CEO, is chaired by the CEO.”
Denise L. Nappier, Connecticut state treasurer and sole trustee of the Connecticut funds, said in a separate statement, “Independent board leadership is an important governance variable to ensure that the company looks beyond today's profits to future growth and success.”
“The battle on this issue has never been about Jamie Dimon, for whom I have deep respect,” Ms. Nappier added in the statement.
The voting results, announced by the company at its annual meeting, are preliminary and based on votes counted before the meeting.