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Jan 22, 2015

Janus profit up after Gross helps bring first inflows since 2009

BOSTON, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Asset manager Janus Capital Group
said on Thursday that fourth-quarter profit rose 22
percent after the arrival of star bond fund manager Bill Gross
helped it reach its first quarter of net deposits since 2009.

The flows mark a long-awaited milestone for Janus and Chief
Executive Officer Richard Weil and sent the Denver company’s
shares up 3.9 percent to $16.93 in early trading.

Jan 21, 2015

Fidelity’s Wymer says oil plunge does not cloud solar bet

BOSTON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – One of Fidelity Investments top
stock pickers said he remains positive on solar power despite a
drop in oil prices that hurt shares of First Solar Inc
and dragged on his own portfolio’s performance.

Steven Wymer, who runs the $42.3 billion Fidelity Growth
Company Fund, is the biggest fund investor in First
Solar, a large maker of photovoltaic panels for power systems.
Still, his fund’s 6.80 percent total return in the fourth
quarter beat the 4.93 percent advance of the Standard & Poor’s
500 Index.

Jan 17, 2015

U.S. SEC steps back after challenge on Whole Foods proxy access

BOSTON/BENGALURU, Jan 16 (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission on Friday backed off a ruling it made on
when companies may ditch shareholder proposals, drawing praise
from activists aiming to add their own directors at grocer Whole
Foods Market Inc and other companies.

The SEC said it “will express no views” in the current proxy
season on challenges to shareholder proposals that cite similar
pending management proposals. That decision followed questions
over its application of rules in a case involving the
Texas-based grocery chain.

Jan 15, 2015

Critique of Harvard by SEC’s Gallagher sparks rare academic spat

BOSTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – High-profile professors and
securities lawyers traded jabs Thursday on the merits of a
Harvard University legal project, a scholarly slugfest playing
out in the normally staid academic sector tracking corporate
governance.

At issue is a research paper from December by SEC
Commissioner Daniel Gallagher and Stanford University professor
Joseph Grundfest, a former SEC commissioner, titled “Did Harvard
Violate Federal Securities Law? The Campaign Against Classified
Boards of Directors.”

Jan 15, 2015

Bank of America strikes deal to avoid activist resolution on chairman role

Jan 14 (Reuters) – An activist investor group said it is
withdrawing a shareholder resolution that called for Bank of
America to have an independent board chair, easing some
of the pressure the bank faced after giving its Chief Executive
Brian Moynihan the additional title of chairman last year.

In return for avoiding a vote on the resolution at its
springtime annual meeting, Bank of America agreed to produce a
report on its corporate culture and business practices, said
Seamus Finn, chair of the Interfaith Center on Corporate
Responsibility.

Jan 13, 2015

Ukraine debt slide haunts contrarian U.S. bond fund star Hasenstab

BOSTON, Jan 13 (Reuters) – A slide in Ukraine bond prices
continues to haunt U.S. bond fund star Michael Hasenstab, whose
multibillion-dollar bet on the troubled country’s debt is in
turmoil as analysts predict a major restructuring that could
spell losses for investors.

In recent weeks, Ukraine bond prices have plummeted to less
than 60 cents on the dollar on some issues. Analysts at Goldman
Sachs say the market is now pricing in a high default
probability with potential for a write-down in 2015.

Jan 7, 2015

Exclusive: Vanguard to offer more detail on corporate governance voting

BOSTON (Reuters) – Vanguard Group Inc plans to publish new details about how it voted at annual shareholder meetings, in a move likely to raise the heat on some of the nation’s top companies.

Vanguard, which has $3 trillion of assets under management, is making the change as activist investors pressure top shareholders to take a more vocal role on questions of corporate governance. It follows the lead of BlackRock Inc (BLK.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world’s largest asset manager, which ramped up its publishing of similar reports last year.

Jan 7, 2015

Vanguard to offer more detail on corporate governance voting

BOSTON, Jan 7 (Reuters) – Vanguard Group Inc plans to
publish new details about how it voted at annual shareholder
meetings, in a move likely to raise the heat on some of the
nation’s top companies.

Vanguard, which has $3 trillion of assets under management,
is making the change as activist investors pressure top
shareholders to take a more vocal role on questions of corporate
governance. It follows the lead of BlackRock Inc, the
world’s largest asset manager, which ramped up its publishing of
similar reports last year.

Jan 7, 2015

H&R Block to see Obamacare boost: CEO

By Ross Kerber

(Reuters) – H&R Block Inc expects a boost from new U.S. tax forms required under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law and from new clients seeking the company’s help, Chief Executive Officer Bill Cobb told Reuters on Wednesday.

Cobb said the Kansas City, Missouri, company expected about 25 percent of its clients to file one of two forms newly required on 2014 returns by the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Dec 19, 2014

JPMorgan report says it’s learning from mistakes

BOSTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co on
Friday outlined improved controls it has been enacting in the
wake of recent missteps, including pay clawbacks and minimum
share ownership requirements for leaders, in a report issued
under shareholder pressure.

The document titled “How We Do Business” and posted on
JPMorgan’s website is the latest mea culpa from the largest U.S.
bank by assets, after a slew of problems and a record $13
billion settlement with regulators in 2013 over its mortgage
operations leading up to the financial crisis.

    • About Ross

      "I cover mutual funds and the companies that offer them including Fidelity Investments and Legg Mason Inc, plus related topics like retirement savings issues and socially responsible investing. I'm based in Boston and joined Reuters in 2009."
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