Sister Nora’s political lobbying proposal gets on to JP Morgan proxy ballot

Banking giant facing pressure from faith-based activists

A proposal on political lobbying tabled by Sister Nora Nash of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia will be voted on at investment bank JP Morgan Chase’s annual general meeting (AGM) next month.

Sr. Nora, known for her high profile engagements with Goldman Sachs and Chevron amongst others, is lead proponent of the motion alongside Walden Asset Management and a range of faith investors on behalf of the Allen Hancock Revocable Living Trust.

The resolution calls for the bank to prepare an annual report disclosing company policy and procedures on lobbying and requests a list of lobbying payments. It also seeks the disclosure of “membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organisation that writes and endorses model legislation”. The banking giant holds its AGM on May 21 in Tampa, Florida.

The motion also focuses on the bank’s membership of business lobby group the Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber actively lobbies against legislation and regulation on climate change while the bank has a strong environmental policy. Contradictions like this pose reputational risks for the company,” the proponents say in a supporting statement.

Lawyers for JP Morgan at O’Melveny & Myers had sought to exclude the proposal from its AGM agenda, arguing that it duplicated an earlier proposal filed by Domini Social Investments and others. But Domini’s General Counsel Adam Kanzer withdrew that proposalon March 12, paving the way for the company to include Nash’s proposal.

“We are grateful for the progress that JP Morgan Chase has made in addressing some disclosure with regard to lobbying but we encourage more public disclosure,” Sr. Nora wrote to the bank’s Corporate Secretary Anthony Horan in November.

The bank will also face a proposal from the AFSCME [American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees] Pension Plan, which is calling for an independent chairman.

There is also a resolution on genocide-free investing tabled by William Rosenfeld, which highlights the bank membership of the PRI Initiative. A similar proposal gained 59.2% support in 2012.

The union-linked CtW [Change to Win] Investment Group is also focusing on JP Morgan. It has dropped a proposal at rival Goldman Sachs calling for an independent chairman after engagement with the company and will now focus its energies on the JP Morgan board.
It all comes as the bank’s Chairman and Chief Executive Jamie Dimon issued a further apology to shareholders for last year’s multi-billion-dollar “London Whale” trading scandal in his latest annual letter to shareholders. J.P.Morgan proxy

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