I was very surprised to see your Sept. 7 editorial concerning conflict between my roles as chairman of Barclays Global Investors and director for Hewlett-Packard Co. As those on my staff who spoke to your reporter indicated, there are simple, clear and absolute protections that apply to fiduciaries in these circumstances, and all are in force in this circumstance. These are the same protections that apply to other executives in fund management who serve on the boards of public companies. To my knowledge there has never been a hint of inappropriateness arising from conflict between their roles.
I am enjoined from using information as head of BGI in any capacity except to the benefit of our clients. As a director of Hewlett-Packard, I am similarly bound to protect information and exercise discretion exclusively on behalf of HP shareholders. If a conflict were ever to arise between the two, I will recuse myself from discussion or voting on such a matter at HP. This was agreed before I accepted the appointment to its board.
I was not given the opportunity to discuss the matter with your editorial writer given the deadline pressure under which this story was written. In my view, this story, if deserving coverage at all, was more important than urgent.
Patricia C. Dunn
Barclays Global Investors