Encouraging diversity in the boardroom is not just the right thing to do, it also leads to better outcomes for companies and shareholders over the long term.
Adoption of New Proxy Voting Guidelines to Include LGBTQ Diversity on Corporate Boards Sets New Standard
NEW YORK – Amalgamated Bank, the nation’s leading bank for those at the forefront of social change, announced that it will be the first non-governmental institutional investor to expand the definition of corporate board diversity to include LGBTQ individuals*. Amalgamated has adopted new language in its proxy and investment guidelines to explicitly expand the definition of board diversity to include LGBTQ directors.
These policies guide how the bank will vote proxies at the companies in which the bank, through its LongView Funds, holds shares. Typical voting matters include proposals to elect new directors, approval of executive pay packages, mergers and acquisitions, as well as other governance policies.
Amalgamated’s new proxy and investment guidelines now read as follows:
"The Funds generally support reasonable proposals requesting that companies adopt policies or recruit board nominees from diverse populations which may add to the diversity of perspectives on the board and benefit shareholder value. The Funds view diversity broadly and believe diverse boards may encompass considerations such as professional background, expertise, skills, age, race, gender, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation and gender diversity. Director attributes should be relevant to the company's business and enhance the board's capacity to effectively oversee strategy and risk, including operational, regulatory climate-related and environmental, human capital, macroeconomic, and financial risks."
The expanded language affirms Amalgamated’s longstanding commitment to promoting diversity of all kinds and its belief that diverse boards and leadership drive long-term shareholder value. Amalgamated’s updated proxy and investment guidelines reflect the example of New York City Pension Funds, who adopted similar language in 2016. As the first non-governmental institutional investor to embrace this policy change, Amalgamated is proud to be a leading voice in the push for diversity in leadership.
“Amalgamated Bank believes that encouraging diversity in the boardroom is not just the right thing to do, it also leads to better outcomes for companies and shareholders over the long term. Boards of Directors must comprise the most talented individuals in their fields who bring diverse expertise and perspectives to ensure companies can remain innovative and, ultimately, successful. This is why we have long advocated for greater representation of women, people of color and others who bring diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. The expansion of Amalgamated’s definition of board diversity is a reflection of our long held view that diversity comes in many forms. It simply makes sense that our proxy and investment guidelines should include LGBTQ in our conception of diversity in the boardroom.” said Keith Mestrich, President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank.
Out Leadership's Quorum initiative, which works to increase LGBTQ representation and inclusion on corporate boards, has been a key partner in Amalgamated's work to make board diversity policies inclusive of LGBTQ directors. Out Leadership works to engage business leaders to seek “Return on Equality,” with research that shows investment returns are significantly higher at LGBTQ-friendly companies.
“A commitment to LGBT+ diversity is proven to positively impact a company's performance, and such commitments are usually most impactful when they start from the top," says Todd Sears, Founder and Principal of Out Leadership. "Bringing LGBT+ diversity into the boardroom can contribute to better corporate decision-making by giving business leaders better access to the fast-growing and highly discerning LGBT+ consumer and talent marketplaces. We applaud Amalgamated for being the first nongovernmental institutional investor to expand their board diversity language to include LGBT+ diversity and hope that their action serves as an example for others to follow.”
Amalgamated Bank has long played a leadership role in successful corporate initiatives and strong shareholder activism, holding corporations to rigorous environmental, social, and governance standards. In 1992, LongView Funds was founded to exercise “Advocacy Through Ownership.” This provides the opportunity to monitor portfolios for environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) practices and encourage best practices. The LongView Funds use Amalgamated’s power as investors to encourage corporate boards to pursue sound governance policies, hold portfolio companies to high standards of social and environmental practices, and enhance shareholder value.
About Amalgamated Bank
For nearly a century, Amalgamated Bank has been the most trusted financial institution for progressive people and organizations. By helping those who do good do better, we work to help make the world more just, compassionate and sustainable. Our extensive experience, financial resources and community of like-minded customers offers labor unions, philanthropies, political campaigns, socially and environmentally responsible corporations, as well as individuals, a unique set of financial services enabling them to lead the charge to improve our communities and our country.
Kaye Verville, The Levinson Group