Holly Testa

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Economic Overview July 2020

on Jul 17, 2020 4:15:00 PM By | Holly Testa | 0 Comments |
By Holly Testa  |  Download the PDF Economic Overview Below is our compilation of the economic views expressed by First Affirmative’s key data providers. You may click on the links provided in the footnotes to access the complete report. “The COVID-19 shock altered the course of the global economy and ravaged financial markets, prompting policymakers to step in quickly and with scale. Unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus, combined with signs of an economic recovery as lockdowns eased, triggered a rapid rebound in risk assets.” (1) “The National Bureau of Economic Research declared the economic peak and end of the 11-year long record economic expansion as of February 2020. As investors try to size up the damage of this current recession, it is helpful to reflect on past recessions as a comparison. The x-axis shows the years in which a given recession occurred, the y-axis shows the length of a given recession and the bubble size represents the severity of a given recession. The severity is defined as the peak to trough decline in real GDP.” (3)  – See chart below.
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Advocacy and Impact July 2020

on Jul 17, 2020 4:00:00 PM By | Holly Testa | 0 Comments |
By Holly Testa  |  Download the PDF 2020 Proxy Voting Season? Better Than Expected! Investors and corporations have good reason to be distracted from routine events such as annual shareholder meetings this year. We were skeptical that participants in the process would prioritize their commitment to environmental, social, and governance issues, but we are happy to have been proven wrong. Early reports from Institutional Shareholder Services point to a year of record-setting votes on environmental and social proposals and substantial withdrawals; First Affirmative’s outcomes conform to this trend. Progress continues on a wide range of issues in spite of, or perhaps because of, ongoing events that have exposed the consequences of our collective failure to act on systemic failures — failures that, all too often, are the focus of advocacy efforts undertaken by our investor community.
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Affirmative Impact April 2020

on May 13, 2020 10:15:00 AM By | Holly Testa | 0 Comments | Affirmative Impact
Shareholder Engagement in the Midst of COVID-19 By Holly Testa  |  Download the PDF The traumatic impacts of the ongoing COVID- 19 outbreak are necessarily focusing attention to immediate concerns at the expense of just about everything else. Some thoughts on the challenges and opportunities we see as we navigate the changing day-to-day landscape:  Our Work Continues The COVID-19 crisis will do much to shape our agenda going forward, but we continue to focus on long-term systemic issues even as we re-focus our short-term strategy. We had already filed 11 shareholder proposals on behalf of clients for the 2020 proxy season prior to the onset of COVID-19, taking leadership on two resolutions.
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Advocacy and Impact January 2020

on Jan 31, 2020 10:15:00 AM By | Holly Testa | 0 Comments |
By Holly Testa  |  Download the PDF Proxy Voting Trends Our track record on proxy voting continues to contrast sharply with overall averages, as our proxy voting guidelines establish standards not typical within the mainstream investment community. We voted against over 40% of nominating committee board members due to lack of gender and racial diversity and against almost 50% of compensation committee board members due to their oversight and approval of excessive executive compensation.
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Affirmative Impact October 2019

on Nov 1, 2019 10:15:00 AM By | Holly Testa | 0 Comments | Affirmative Impact
Gun Violence: Are We Moving Beyond Thoughts and Prayers? By Holly Testa  |  Download the PDF Recent events give us hope that the answer is yes, even in the face of an unresponsive Senate. In the last few months we have seen significant developments: In the absence of viable federal legislation, state lawmakers have been taking action, with numerous states enacting new gun laws that strengthen background checks, increase age requirements and restrict magazine size and accessories that enhance rapid firing capability. New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy asked banks doing business in the state to disclose relationships with gun manufacturers and sellers. The U.S. House passed a bill that represents the first substantive attempt to enhance federal firearms regulation since 1994. Walmart terminated hand gun and short barrel rifle ammunition sales after a mass shooting killing 20 in one of their own stores. CEO Doug McMillon publicly asked for public policy action. 145 CEOs signed a letter asking the Senate to pass legislation mandating background checks for all firearms sales and to enact a strong red flag law.
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Affirmative Impact June 2019

on Jul 25, 2019 10:15:00 AM By | Holly Testa | 0 Comments | Affirmative Impact
Finally: Significant Progress on Board Diversity By Holly Testa Download the PDF First Affirmative has seen frustratingly slow, but nevertheless steady progress when it comes to board diversity. Of note this proxy season were our successful withdrawals of board diversity proposals at Masimo and Cambrex after both companies took steps to revise nominating committee guidelines and improve their search process to enhance board diversity.
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