John Harrington Doesn’t Trust Goldman, JPMorgan Or AIG


Activist investor John Harrington is apparently a little leery of at least three major U.S. firms: Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG). MarketWatch reports that Harrington has filed proposals asking for details on how the firms’ management teams are both ethically and legally obligated to their shareholders.

John Harrington seeks clarification

Harrington has reportedly asked all three firms to put together a report which examines “opportunities for clarifying and enhancing implementation of directors’ and officers’ fiduciary, moral and legal obligations to shareholders and other stakeholders.” He also suggesting that these firms adjust their bylaws a bit by adding certain language which would potentially strengthen their standards for oversight of the company and conduct of management and board members.

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He wants Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) and American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) to explain “the extent to which directors and officers are required to provide balanced, truthful accounts” of any issue which is of concern to shareholders.

Harrington often files bank proxies

Of course this isn’t the first time John Harrington has filed proxy statements with major banks. Last year his proposal for Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) received 9% shareholder support. He wanted shareholders to be able to nominate board member candidates. He also proposed that Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) not be so quick to protect board members from lawsuits which are related to their position with the bank. Three percent of shareholders supported that proposal.

Harrington has reportedly filed both of those proposals again and said he hopes to see them on the ballots at the banks’ 2014 shareholder meetings. He believes that the reason his proposals had so little support last year was because he didn’t work with the influential shareholder advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services, which generally provides advice to major investors about how to vote on various proposals.