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New York City Pension Funds, Comptroller Push for More Boardroom Diversity

The New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and the New York City Pension Funds recently launched “Boardroom Accountability Project 2.0,” a campaign to increase pressure on large corporations to make their boards “more diverse, independent, and climate-competent, so that they are in a position to deliver better long-term returns for investors,” according to a news release from the Comptroller’s Office. As part of the campaign’s launch, Comptroller Stringer and the New York City Pension Funds are calling on the boards of 151 U.S. companies to disclose the race and gender of their directors, along with board members’ skills, in a standardized “matrix” format – and to enter into a dialogue regarding their board’s “refreshment” process. In 2015, the Comptroller’s Office and New York City Pension Funds — along with eight other major U.S. pension systems — submitted a rulemaking petition to the SEC that would make this type of disclosure mandatory market-wide. The SEC has not yet taken action on the petition. Reuters reports that under former SEC Chair Mary Jo White the staff was preparing requirements that companies disclose more about their boardroom diversity, but few expect the agency’s new chair, Jay Clayton, to put the requirements into practice.