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Thursday, June 19, 2003

Steal These Proxy Voting Guidelines

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Fund boards seeking a model for their proxy voting guideline can steal a page from Calvert Funds (literally). The one catch is the voting guidelines will work best for funds following a socially conscious investing mandate.

Calvert, which manages some $9 billion in fund assets, is offering up its proxy voting guidelines on its Web site as a model to other fund firms. The Bethesda, Maryland-based fund firm first adopted the guidelines for its own funds in September of 2000. It just finished revising them in response to the SEC's new proxy disclosure rules.

"We’ve re-designed our Proxy Voting Guidelines to better promote and achieve this integration of good governance and social responsibility on the part of the companies we invest in on behalf of our shareholders," said Barbara J. Krumsiek, president & CEO of Calvert.

Krumsiek is encouraging other mutual funds and institutional investors to adopt the model laid out by Calvert in the hope that the guidelines will "encourage good governance and social responsibility on the part of corporations."

The guidelines contain detailed proxy-voting policies on board elections, composition and governance; executive compensation and stock ownership; mergers, acquisitions and takeovers; workplace, environment, and human rights issues; product safety and impact; indigenous peoples’ rights; and community interactions.  

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