State Treasurer Ted Wheeler announced that Oregon trust funds, which hold substantial shares of Wells Fargo & Co., will press for management structure and executive compensation reforms in the wake of a scandal in which company employees created millions of fraudulent accounts, and then received bonuses as a reward for their fraudulent activities.
The Oregon State Treasury and Oregon Investment Council engage directly with public companies and also seek change via proxy votes to drive more responsible practices, enhance long-term value and increase the likelihood of sustainable returns.
“Ethics matter,” said State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, who also sits on the Oregon Investment Council. “As a responsible shareholder, we will hold corporate leadership accountable and demand reforms including a ban on bonuses connected to fraud.”
Oregon’s investment program is large, complex and globally diversified, and includes the Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund, Oregon Short-Term Fund, Oregon Common School Fund and State Accident Insurance Fund. As of Aug. 31, the program’s market value was over $90 billion, and its aggregate Wells Fargo holdings totaled $1.14 billion, with $104 million in stock and the remainder in fixed income securities.
The Oregon Treasury engages with publicly-traded company boards of directors and executives through its corporate governance program. In addition to seeking compensation changes, Oregon will push for better accountability by separating the board chairman and chief executive roles as well as seek to force the company to claw back any previously paid compensation linked to deceptive practices. Treasury also is investigating potential legal action.
The Oregon State Treasury protects public assets and saves Oregonians money through its investment, banking, and debt management functions. State investment policies are set by the Oregon Investment Council. The State Treasury also promotes public outreach and education to help Oregonians learn strategies to save money, invest for college and make smart financial choices. You can learn more about the Oregon Treasury and Oregon Retirement Savings Plan on Twitter at @OregonTreasury.
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