Pension fund shareholders have lined up on opposite sides in voting on election of directors and a shareholder proposal calling for genocide-free investing at Franklin Resources Inc.
The $177.7 billion Florida State Board of Administration, Tallahassee, is voting against the election of Charles E. Johnson as a director. The reason: “he is an affiliated outside director who (or whose employer) is involved in a business transaction with the company where the transaction amount exceeds $120,000 or is undisclosed,” John Kuczwanski, FSBA communications manager, said in an e-mail.
The FSBA is voting in support of the proposal calling for Franklin Resources, whose investment management units include Franklin Templeton, “to avoid holding … companies that, in management’s judgment, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity.”
The FSBA vote “is in accordance with the requirements and intent of the Protecting Florida’s Investments Act, which prohibits investment in companies involved in proscribed activities in Sudan or Iran,” Mr. Kuczwanski said.
The $1 billion American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees pension plan, Washington, is voting against the election as directors of Charles Johnson, Gregory E. Johnson, Rupert H. Johnson Jr., Chutta Ratnathicam and Anne M. Tatlock, according to its proxy-voting disclosure. In addition, it is voting in support of the anti-genocide investing proposal.
The C$201.5 billion ($181.4 billion) Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Toronto, and the C$129.5 billion Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Toronto, are each voting in favor of all directors and against the genocide proposal, according to their proxy-voting disclosures.
Franklin Resources opposes the genocide proposal, saying in its proxy statement: “We also recognize and are respectful of the fact that there are many different perspectives and opinions on the best way to approach this and similar issues. We believe that fostering economic and business development through investment can often help in achieving reforms.”
Franklin Resources’ annual meeting is March. 12.