Giant US fund wins political donation disclosure commitments

NY fund gets assurances from three Fortune 500 firms

The $146.9bn (€108bn) New York State Common Retirement Fund has won concessions on the disclosure of political expenditure from three companies on the Fortune 500.
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli announced he obtained commitments from hotels group Marriott International, restaurant operator Yum Brands and clothing company Limited Brands.
They follow requests made by DiNapoli and other members of the Council of Institutional Investors asking companies to be more transparent in how they fund political campaigns. “These three companies have heeded the call,” DiNapoli, the trustee of the fund, said.
It’s the first time the fund has assurances from investee companies in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s 2010 “Citizens United” decision, which increased companies’ ability to make political contributions.The development follows strong support for the fund’s shareholder resolutions on the issue at companies such as R.R. Donnelly, Lorillard, Anadarko and Caterpillar.

Elsewhere in the US, a case brought by the five Ohio pension funds against the three main ratings agencies has been dismissed.
The funds had alleged they lost out on over $457m on risky mortgage debt by relying on unsound ratings from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings.

But U.S. District Judge James Graham in Columbus, Ohio said the investors had failed to “allege that the rating agencies did not believe their ratings”.

A spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, was quoted by Reuters as saying the office is disappointed with the ruling and that it is discussing it with the Ohio funds.