CECP Investor Letter

CEO Investor Forum:
Investor Letter to Presenting Companies

From: The CECP SII Advisory Board Investor Subcommittee
Subject: Guidance on Future CEO-Investor Forum Long-Term Plan Presentations


Companies that are listed on public stock exchanges face a constant, daily demand from investors for information. In recent years, however, many large institutional investors have expressed a desire to gain a different perspective: the long-term view.

CECP is a CEO-led organization that works with over 200 of the world’s leading companies to advance business as a Force for Good in society. CECP has taken the lead to establish CEO Investor Forums to help operationalize the call for long-term value creation. We have held two Forums to date—with 14 leading CEOs/companies ($1 trillion market cap) sharing long-term plans with investors representing over $25 trillion in assets under management.
We have plans for many more Forums, and today, we write in our capacity as the Investor Subcommittee of CECP’s new Strategic Investor Initiative (SII) Advisory Board, which represents over $15 trillion in assets under management, to provide guidance to companies presenting at future CECP-sponsored CEO Investor Forums.
The Forums provide a platform for discussing long-term value creation, sharing and discussing material information that extends beyond quarterly earnings calls, and helping to deepen and enrich investor understanding of companies’ plans for managing growth, strategy, and risk.
We encourage CEOs to use the Forums as an opportunity to talk to “patient capital” about their companies’ long-term plans. Such opportunities are often under-represented in the quarterly-driven system of corporate-shareholder communications, which can be of limited use in shaping a long-term investment, engagement, and voting outlook.

Talking to long-term investors

CECP institutions have segments of assets under management with a long-term investment outlook that are generally between three and seven years – or longer. Here are some general themes that CEOs might address when talking to large, long-term investors:

GrowthWe suggest CEO presentations be spent talking about plans for future growth, with goals, metrics or milestones mapping to future years with a minimum five-year trajectory. Companies should articulate their view of the future market place, their industry’s operating environment, how future trends may affect their company’s operations and how their growth plans address these related opportunities.

StrategyThe CEO should consider including overarching commentary on the role of the board in formulating the long-term strategy and its processes for monitoring management in delivery of the plan. This is intended as a focused narrative about future performance, not past performance.

RiskA long-term plan provides a corporation with an opportunity to communicate its view of key financially material risks, including long-range mega-trends (such as climate-related risks) and the relevant frameworks used to identify environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. The majority of this discussion should ideally focus on the strategy and resources allocated to address future risks.

Questions to frame the conversation

As long-term investors, there are issues of enduring interest to us as we seek a deeper understanding of our investee companies and inform our voting and engagement activities. Below we set out key suggested questions to consider when presenting publicly-disclosed, investor-facing long-term plans.

  1. 1.What are the key risk factors and mega trends (such as climate change) your business faces over the next three to seven years and how have these influenced corporate strategy?
  2. 2.How do you identify your financially material business issues and which frameworks do you use for reporting on these issues? How do these figure into your future strategy and capital allocation plans?
  1. 3.How do you describe your corporate purpose and how do you help your employees share your vision for the company’s role in society? How does this shape your long-term strategy? How does your future strategy act upon this purpose?
  2. 4.How do you manage your future human capital requirements over the long-term and how do you communicate your future human capital management to your investors?
  1. 5.What is the corporation’s framework/strategies for interacting with its shareholders and key stakeholders?
  2. 6.How will the composition of your board (today and in the future) help guide the company to its long-term strategic goals?
  3. 7.What is the role of the board in setting corporate strategy, setting incentives for and overseeing management? How does the corporation ensure a well-functioning and diverse board accountable to its key stakeholders?

Over time, we expect that the delivery of long-term plans will become a mainstream feature of the schedule of corporate communications with shareholders. CECP’s CEO-Investor Forums are a key tool in refocusing our capital markets towards this new normal emphasis on long-term value creation. We look forward to upcoming CEO long-term plan presentations at future Forums.


Sincerely,

William McNabb III

Chairman, Vanguard SII Co-Chair

Jonathan Bailey

Head of ESG Investing
Neuberger Berman

Dana Bezerra

President Heron Foundation

Robert Fernandez, CFA

Vice President,
Director of ESG Research
Breckinridge Capital Advisors

Dr. Hans-Christoph Hirt

Head of Equity Ownership Services
Hermes Investment Management

Christine Hurtsellers

Voya Investment Management

Erika Karp

Founder and CEO
Cornerstone Capital Inc.

Gianna M. McCarthy

Director-Corporate Governance
Office of the NYS Comptroller
Division of Pension, Investment
Cash Management

Mark W. McDivitt

Managing Director, Head of ESG Solutions
State Street Corporation

Brian A. Rice

Portfolio Manager
Investments – Corporate Governance
California State Teachers’ Retirement System

CECP’s Strategic Investor Initiative (SII)

Advisory Board Members

Current Advisory Board Members as of January 11, 2018 include:

Bill McNabb

Chairman, Vanguard Group & SII Co-Chair

Crystal Barnes

Senior Vice President Global Responsibility and Sustainability, Nielsen

Daryl Brewster

CEO, CECP

Robert Fernandez

CFA, Vice President, Director of ESG Research, Breckinridge Capital Advisors

Hans Hirt

Executive Director and Head of Hermes EOS

Teri Loxam

Vice President, Investor Relations, Merck

Mark McDivitt

Managing Director, Head of ESG Solutions,
State Street Global Exchange

Brian Rice

Portfolio Manager, CalSTRS

Mark Tulay

Director, Strategic Investor Initiative, CECP

Jonathan Bailey

Managing Director and Head of ESG Investing, Neuberger Berman

Dana Bezerra

President, F.B. Heron Foundation

Michelle Edkins

Managing Director, Global Head of Investment Stewardship, BlackRock

Benjamin Gigot

Vice President of Research, Investment Management, CDPQ

Erika Karp

Founder, CEO and Chair of the Board, Cornerstone Capital Inc.

Graham Macmillan

Senior Program Officer, Inclusive Economies, Ford Foundation

Kathleen McLaughlin

President, Walmart Foundation & Global Head of Sustainability, Walmart

Amy Springsteel

Assistant Vice President, Voya Financial

Dennis Whalen

Leader, Board Leadership Center, KPMG

Lee Ballin

Head of Sustainable Business Programs, Bloomberg

Glenn Booraem

Principal and Investment Stewardship Officer, Vanguard

Anthony Di Meo

Director, Investor Relations, BD

Evan Harvey

Director of Corporate Responsibility, NASDAQ

Paula Loop

Assurance Partner and Leader, PwC’s Governance Insights Center, PwC

Gianna McCarthy

Director of Corporate Governance, Office of the New York State Comptroller

Tim Nixon

Head of Sustainability Thought Leadership, Managing Editor Sustainability, Thomson Reuters

Brian Tomlinson

Research Director, Strategic Investor Initiative, CECP

Tim Youmans

Engagement Director, Hermes’ Equity Ownership Services’ North America

Join CECP

CECP partnership is by invitation only and limited to multibillion-dollar for-profit companies. While CECP does not offer formal partnership (renewed on a yearly basis) for small to mid-size companies, or non-corporate institutions (e.g., academic, nonprofit, government), our latest research, event summaries, and benchmarking reports are all available, free of charge, on our website.

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