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Apr 16, 2014

American Funds urges password change to counter ‘Heartbleed’ bug

BOSTON (Reuters) – American Funds, the No. 3 U.S. mutual fund family, advised some customers to change user names and passwords on Wednesday as the number of companies and people affected by the notorious “Heartbleed” bug grows.

The company sent emails to some 825,000 clients, saying they had been exposed to “a very narrow window of risk” related to “Heartbleed,” which has been described as the biggest computer security threat since the mass adoption of the Internet.

Apr 14, 2014

Goldman dodges a shareholder battle that dogs rivals

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When Goldman Sachs Group Inc filed its shareholder proxy earlier this month, it was free of a proposal that has become increasingly popular among corporate governance activists: a demand for more disclosure about lobbying.

Goldman’s big Wall Street rivals can’t say the same. JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc and Morgan Stanley all face lobbying-disclosure proposals this year. Some activist shareholders want the banks to be more transparent about their lobbying objectives, disclose more about the trade groups they belong to and say how much money they spend to influence policy.

Apr 10, 2014

Fidelity explores new trading venue amid flash trade concerns

BOSTON (Reuters) – Fidelity Investments said on Thursday it is exploring the creation of a new trading venue with other asset managers, as U.S. regulators investigate the controversial practice of high-frequency trading.

Fidelity, the No. 2 U.S. mutual fund company, and other so-called buy-side firms have been using alternative trading systems (ATS) to reduce predatory behavior that undermine getting the best price when trading stocks. In 2012, for example, Fidelity introduced an extension of its CrossStream ATS to execute block trades anonymously, including features to monitor predatory behavior and to reduce information leaks, Fidelity said at the time in a press release.

Apr 9, 2014

Bond fund manager Hasenstab encouraged by Ukraine outlook

BOSTON (Reuters) – Templeton Global Bond Fund manager Michael Hasenstab, who has a multibillion-dollar bet on Ukraine bonds, says he is confident the country can flourish over the next decade and that the international community can put together a reform package to solve any short-term liquidity and solvency issues.

“I think the current government has done an exceptional job of tackling not just the short-term issues but really setting the stage for Ukraine to flourish over the next five to 10 years by putting in place very difficult, but very important structural reforms,” Hasenstab said in remarks released on Wednesday.

Apr 4, 2014

Isnight – U.S. companies rein in flashy perks, find other rewards for CEOs

BOSTON (Reuters) – For some executives, corporate perks are getting just a little less exciting.

A number of major U.S. companies are cutting back on glamorous luxuries like personal jet use, country-club memberships, and luxury rentals, recent corporate filings show. Often the shifts follow pressure from shareholders, who in recent years have criticized soaring executive pay and over-the-top perks.

Apr 4, 2014

US companies rein in flashy perks, find other rewards for CEOs

BOSTON, April 4 (Reuters) – For some executives, corporate
perks are getting just a little less exciting.

A number of major U.S. companies are cutting back on
glamorous luxuries like personal jet use, country-club
memberships, and luxury rentals, recent corporate filings show.
Often the shifts follow pressure from shareholders, who in
recent years have criticized soaring executive pay and
over-the-top perks.

Mar 18, 2014

MSCI to sell proxy advisory firm ISS for $364 million

By Neha Dimri and Ross Kerber

(Reuters) – Stock market index provider MSCI Inc said it would sell influential governance unit Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) to private equity firm Vestar Capital Partners for $364 million to focus on its risk investment products and services business.

By putting the unit under private ownership the deal could resolve some awkward situations for MSCI and for ISS. Both have faced criticism from companies and trade groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on areas including the methodologies used by ISS in recommending votes on the election of corporate directors, executive pay and other touchy matters.

Mar 17, 2014

Growth in compensation for U.S. CEOs may have slowed

BOSTON, March 17 (Reuters) – Big U.S. companies appear to
have handed out smaller increases in compensation to their chief
executives in 2013 than in 2012, mainly as a result of reduced
grants of stock options, according to an early review of annual
regulatory filings.

Based on disclosures from 46 companies in the Standard &
Poor’s 500 Index that had filed annual compensation reports by
March 11, the median compensation increase for a CEO was 1
percent to $8.64 million.

Mar 4, 2014

Legg Mason to buy private asset manager QS Investors

By Ross Kerber and Tanya Agrawal

(Reuters) – Asset manager Legg Mason Inc (LM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it will buy privately held QS Investors and merge it with two other business units, aiming to build sales to institutional clients and retail investors.

The deal announced on Tuesday marks an early expansion step by Legg Mason Chief Executive officer Joseph Sullivan, who took over last year and said he would consider acquisitions as a way to grow the Baltimore fund company.

Feb 28, 2014

-Investors restless? Call Abe Friedman

BOSTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – As corporations draw more heat
from their investors, Abe Friedman aims to put out some fires.

His San Francisco start-up, CamberView Partners, advises
companies on how top shareholders make voting decisions and how
to frame company messages.

    • 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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