January 2014 Newsletter
The Growing Momentum of the Equity Index Fund
With YOUR help, the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund is building greater momentum. As of January 2014, the fund reached $4.2 billion in assets.
This type of growth is unprecedented for a fund not even three years old. The fund’s spectacular start shows that the labor movement understands the impact of pooling together pension dollars to reduce costs and engage in shareholder activism.
The Fund represents dollars from pension funds, from a cross-section of the labor movement—public, building trades, transportation, industrial, manufacturing, maritime, and others.
We believe the fund can reach $10 billion and really begin to have a major impact on corporate America. Think about what that would mean: Using shareholder activism and voting in line with the the AFL-CIO proxy voting guidelines to influence companies on issues such as executive pay, golden parachutes, independent board chairs, corporate political spending, human rights, and more.
We can do it!
It’s our time.
President & Managing Director
AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation
Brandon Rees is the Acting Director of the AFL-CIO Office of Investment
Proxy votes — the right to vote shares of stock at company stockholder meetings — are valuable assets. Ensuring that these shares are voted in the interests of pension plan participants and beneficiaries is part of a trustee’s fiduciary duty.
The AFL-CIO Proxy Voting Guidelines have been developed to serve pension fund trustees as a model guide to proxy voting. The goal of the guidelines is to assist trustees in exercising their ownership rights in ways that achieve long-term value by supporting important shareholder initiatives on corporate accountability.
Each year, the AFL-CIO Key Votes Survey ranks asset managers based on whether they vote in accordance with the AFL-CIO Proxy Voting Guidelines. The AFL-CIO Key Votes Survey helps pension plan trustees compare proxy voting between asset managers.
The latest data from the 2013 AFL-CIO Key Votes Survey shows how many index fund asset managers are voting. The AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund votes 100 percent in accordance with the AFL-CIO Proxy Voting Guidelines. Many other index fund asset managers do not:
AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund vs. The Competition:
Percentage of Key Votes Cast with The AFL-CIO Proxy Voting GuidelinesSource: 2013 AFL-CIO Key Votes Survey, available at http://www.aflcio.org/proxyvotes
Thanks to your investment in the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund, your pension plan’s assets are being voted with the AFL-CIO Proxy Voting Guidelines every time, all the time.
Iron Workers Southern Ohio & Vicinity District Council
The Iron Workers Southern Ohio & Vicinity District Council has more than 6,100 active members. Nationally, more than 120,000 workers are members of the Iron Workers. Members of the Iron Workers union have worked on nearly every major construction project you can think of, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sears Tower, the St. Louis Arch, he Oil Sands Plant Expansion in Alberta, the World Trade Center, and even the Freedom Tower in New York City.
Ironworkers’ members work on bridges, structural steel, ornamental, architectural, and miscellaneous metals, rebar, and in shops. Across North America, we build.
“We provide many benefits and support for our members. These benefits include the advantage of working under a collective bargaining agreement that brings bigger paychecks, better health and retirement benefits, more secure jobs, and safe working conditions. We also believe that we have a responsibility to invest our pension dollars in ways that share our values, and that is why the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund is such an important program.” – William A. Woodward, President, Iron Workers Southern Ohio & Vicinity District Council
Shepard Burr is President of ASB Investment Management division of ASB Capital Management, LLC.
In addition to returns that closely track the S&P 500 Index, and proxy voting that is guided by the AFL-CIO Office of Investment, did you know that the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund introduces shareholder resolutions that are geared to increasing the long-term value of companies in its portfolio?
In 2013, the Fund introduced ten such resolutions, three of which resulted in almost-immediate positive changes. We anticipate introducing even more shareholder resolutions in 2014, and the growing size of the Fund should continue to increase its influence.
All of this for an investment management fee of 0.015% (1.5 basis points) a year. The AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund is quite an investment for pension plans whose beneficiaries care about investment performance, corporate accountability to shareholders, and low investment management fees.
What Union Presidents Are Saying About the
AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund
“Corporate investment workforce training can enhance both companies and their employees. The AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund gives pension plans a voice to raise these sorts of issues, which can also include worker safety and general wellness issues.”
– Carlo Fiorletta, President, The Guild of Italian American Actors (GIAA)
“Proxy voting and shareholder resolutions give us opportunities other investment funds don’t have—the ability to influence corporate behavior.”
– John F. Hegarty, National President, National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU)
– Samuel A. Cabral, International President, International Union of Police Associations (IUPA)
“By supporting funds like the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund, we can use our voice as shareholders to push for transparency issues, such as supporting independent auditors who can help protect the integrity and reliability of corporate financial reporting.”
– Harold A. Schaitberger, General President, International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
The decision to participate in the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund must be made by the trustees of each individual plan after reviewing all available information. The AFL-CIO is not an investment advisor or investment manager, and does not have any intention of, and shall not be deemed to be, advising any plan, its trustees, its participants or its beneficiaries regarding the making of an investment in the Index Fund. Moreover, the AFL-CIO makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the results to be obtained by the Fund or any investor in the Fund.