2011 Mar 16

9th Annual Conference of the Pensions and Capital Stewardship Project: Pensions, Retirement Security and Strategies for Investment

Wed - Fri, Mar 16 to Mar 18, 5:00pm - 2:00pm


Harvard Law School, Cambridge MA

penconf_2011_4_COVERThis year’s annual conference featured speakers and panels on key topics, including a critical perspective on the operation of financial markets in which pension funds participate, the nature and implications for pension funds of the recently enacted financial markets reform legislation; the current and future landscape of those who provide financial services to funds, the relationship between pension fund boards and their staff, consultants, and asset managers,  the progress and impact of corporate governance reforms, efforts to sustain public sector pension plans both currently and with any eye to the future, and the challenge of retirement income security for all households.
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Origins of the Financial Markets Meltdown, the Need for Financial Reform, and the Dodd-Frank Bill Response
Larry Beeferman. 1/2011. “Origins of the Financial Markets Meltdown, the Need for Financial Reform, and the Dodd-Frank Bill Response.” Commissioned for the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems. Publisher's VersionAbstract
This paper reviews: (1) what typically are seen as important near- or short-term causes linked to the financial crisis, (2) the kinds of individual and institutional behaviors that many believe contributed to these causes, (3) the most important among the provisions of recently enacted financial markets reform legislation – the Dodd-Frank Act – ostensibly calculated to change those behaviors, and (4) some critical perspective on whether the provisions are suited to the task.
Capital Stewardship in the United States: Worker Voice and the Union Role in the Management of Pension Fund Assets
Larry W. Beeferman. 2/2011. “Capital Stewardship in the United States: Worker Voice and the Union Role in the Management of Pension Fund Assets.” Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, vol. 17 , no 1, Pp. 43-57.Abstract
This article describes US unions’ efforts at capital stewardship, that is, the investment and management of the assets accumulated in pension and other retirement plans (frequently termed ‘workers’ or ‘labour’s capital’) — on behalf of plan participants and in the interest of workers more generally. It focuses particularly on the opportunities for direct worker voice in the governance and management of those assets through workers serving as trustees of the plans. The article explores the challenges these trustees face in navigating that role in addition to their possibly conflicting role as a union member or official. It details unions’ visions for capital stewardship and their efforts to integrate trustees’ activities within the broader range of union activities. Finally, it describes ways in which unions have collaborated in support of their trustees and to develop a cross-union capital stewardship agenda.
Supply-Chain Labour and Human Rights
Larry Beeferman and Aaron Bernstein. 12/2011. Supply-Chain Labour and Human Rights. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Prepared at the request of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), this report  benchmarks the supply-chain labor and human rights policies of the S&P/ASX 200 (ASX 200) against 2,500 of the largest global companies building on the work of the Project’s previous publication “Benchmarking Corporate Policies on Labor and Human Rights in Global Supply Chains,” (Occasional Paper No. 5)  On the whole, the ASX 200 companies lag their peers in other listed markets, with a mere 17% issuing a labor and human rights policy covering their supply chain, versus 35% in the global sample. This trend carries across when analyzing company procedures to implement policies. There is some exception to this pattern for occupational health and safety policies of ASX 200 companies, which were notably strong, which may reflect the impact of strict health and safety legislation in Australia. The largest Australian companies (by market capitalization) also managed to measure up to their global peers on a number of indicators. The majority of ASX 200 firms however paled in comparison to the performance of the global sample
2011 Feb 10

"Raising Our Sights: Fighting for a Progressive Vision in Sharply Contested Terrain"

4:00pm to 6:00pm

    Miles Rapoport
Miles Rapoport
President of Demos  
Paul Booth
Paul Booth
Executive Assistant
to the President, AFSCME

Opening Remarks by Paul Booth, Executive Assistant to the President, AFSCME:"Miles Rapoport is the president of Demos. What is Demos? There is an awful lot of Demos material out on the table there, and you really should indulge freely in it. To me, Demos is simply the leading voice in the United States for small d democracy. Its mission, as I see it, is this cause which it so
ably advances.

Miles Rapoport has a career that included personal involvement in Connecticut politics, to which he brought activism, organizational skills, and a set of real deep commitments."

Brochure of full transcript: [Download]