Shareholder Rights Project
The Shareholder Rights Project (SRP) was established by the Harvard Law School Program on Institutional Investors to contribute to education, discourse, and research related to efforts by institutional investors to improve corporate governance arrangements at publicly traded firms. During the previous three academic years (2011-2012 through 2013-2014), the SRP operated a clinic that assisted institutional investors (several public pension funds and a foundation) in moving S&P 500 and Fortune 500 companies towards annual elections. This work contributed to board declassification at about 100 S&P 500 and Fortune 500 companies. With work on the declassification project completed last summer, the clinic has not been operating during the current academic year. This website provides information about the work done by the SRP clinic during its three years of operation; a detailed final report on this work will be issued in 2015. Any communications with respect to the SRP clinic should be attributed solely to the SRP and not to Harvard Law School or Harvard University.

Investors Working with the SRP Clinic

This webpage provides information about the institutional investors that worked with the Shareholder Rights Project (SRP) clinic during the previous three academic years (2011-2012 through 2013-2014). During this period, the SRP clinic worked with eight institutional investors in connection with the submission of shareholder proposals: the Florida State Board of Administration (SBA), the Illinois State Board of Investment (ISBI), the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA), the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board (PRIM), the Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF), the North Carolina Department of State Treasurer (NCDST), the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS), and the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio (SERS). As explained below, the SRP clinic worked with (i) six of these investors in connection with shareholder declassification proposals for 2012 annual meetings; (ii) all eight investors in connection with such proposals for 2013 meetings; and (iii) five of these investors in connection with such proposals for 2014 meetings.

Overall, the eight investors hold assets with an aggregate value exceeding $400 billion and serve over three million members. Additional information about these institutional investors is provided below.

ISBI is a non-appropriated state agency that is responsible for managing and investing the pension assets of the Illinois General Assembly Retirement System, the Judges’ Retirement System of Illinois and the State Employees’ Retirement System of Illinois. ISBI managed assets with a value exceeding $11 billion as of December 31, 2011.

LACERA, the largest county retirement system in the United States, administers and manages the retirement fund for employees and retirees of Los Angeles County and its outside districts, and their beneficiaries. LACERA managed assets with a value exceeding $38 billion and provided retirement benefits and savings for more than 148,000 members as of June 30, 2012.

The NCF is a charitable foundation and an institutional shareholder, and submits shareholder resolutions on issues that lie at the intersection of its programmatic interests and long-term shareholder value.

The NCDST is the fiduciary for the North Carolina Retirement Systems (NCRS).  The NCRS managed assets with a value exceeding $74 billion, and provided retirement benefits and savings for more than 850,000 North Carolinians, including teachers, state employees, firefighters, police officers, and other public workers, as of June 30, 2012.

PRIM is charged with the general supervision of the Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT) Fund, with pension assets exceeding $53 billion and serving more than 280,000 members. The PRIT Fund is a pooled investment fund that invests the assets of the Massachusetts Teachers’ and State Employees’ Systems, and the assets of county, authority, district, and municipal retirement systems that choose to invest in the PRIT Fund.

OPERS, the largest public pension fund in Ohio, managed assets with a value exceeding $74 billion, and provided retirement benefits and savings for more than 986,000 members, as of December 31, 2011.

The SBA is an agency of Florida state government that provides a variety of investment services to various governmental entities. These include managing the assets of the Florida Retirement System Trust Fund (FRS), the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund, the Local Government Surplus Funds Trust Fund (Florida PRIME), the Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, and a variety of other mandates. The SBA manages assets with a total value exceeding $155 billion and the FRS provides pension benefits to almost 1 million beneficiaries and retirees.

SERS is a statewide public pension fund that provides pension benefits and access to post-retirement health care for non-teaching public school employees in Ohio. SERS provides retirement security for administrative assistants, bus drivers, food service workers, librarians, maintenance personnel, teacher aides, and treasurers. SERS’ mission is to provide its 190,000+ members, retirees, and beneficiaries with pension benefit programs and services that are soundly financed, prudently administered, and delivered with understanding and responsiveness. On June 30, 2012, SERS managed assets of $11 billion.