The Catholic Funds
released the voting record of its Catholic Equity Fund
. The tiny Milwaukee-based fund firm detailed 108 votes it made at roughly 50 S&P 500 firms holding annual meetings from May to July. The firm manages just $11 million in the fund.
Proxy voting records have become a flashpoint with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Last week, the government agency voted to approve new rules requiring increased disclosure by fund firms.
The Catholic Funds took the disclosure as an opportunity to show they voted against company management 40 percent of the time. The most common vote against management was on the approval of auditors for non-audit work. It also voted against a stock option plan, for a performance-based executive compensation, and for implementing and monitoring the International Labor Organization's code of corporate conduct towards international employee rights. The fund also withheld votes for directors who failed to implement independent nominating or auditing committees.
Daniel J. Steininger
, chairman of funds explained that votes were cast against rehiring an existing auditor if more than half of the auditor's fees come from non-audit work.
"We believe excessive non-audit compensation can compromise the auditor's independence and can undermine the public's trust in the company. This, in turn, can risk shareholder value and employee job security," he explained.
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