Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg proposed a series of reforms to the state’s Pension Reserves Investment Management board’s custom proxy-voting guidelines on Thursday.
The proposed reforms target issues at companies, including board diversity, wage equality, renewable energy, human rights standards and other issues aimed at strengthening corporate governance of the $61 billion Boston-based pension fund.
Ms. Goldberg also proposed a new policy to vote against all board nominees if less than 25% of the board is diverse in race and gender, and introduced a new statement of principle in which MassPRIM urges companies to lead on the issue of wage equality and proactively seek to hire a diverse workforce.
“Demanding that companies create diverse leadership teams and confront the threat of climate change are no longer simply admirable social goals,” Ms. Goldberg said in a news release. “These reforms will help protect the stability and financial success of the companies that we invest in.”
Michael G. Trotsky, MassPRIM’s executive director and chief investment officer, said in the same release that he applauded Ms. Goldberg’s efforts in “examining these guidelines and considering changes and areas of expansion.”
Mr. Trotsky added: “Large institutional investors such as PRIM have the ability to influence corporate governance and policy through the proxy-voting process, and PRIM has traditionally exercised that influence based on guidelines established by the PRIM board.”
Ms. Goldberg, who is a member of the PRIM board, worked with MassPRIM’s staff to lead a review of the custom voting guidelines before presenting the recommendations to the audit and administration committee Thursday. The committee unanimously approved Ms. Goldberg’s motion, which will be presented to MassPRIM’s board at its April 7 meeting.