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Christian Brothers Praises SEC's "Bold" Decision on Proxy-Voting Disclosure

Submitted by: Christian Brothers Investment Services, Inc.

Categories: Corporate Governance

Posted: Feb 03, 2003 – 11:00 PM EST


Investment Manager Urges Catholic Institutions to Adopt Proxy Policies on Corporate Governance and Corporate Responsibility

Feb. 03 /CSRwire/ - New York, NY - Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS), a leading investment management firm serving the Catholic institutional market, today commended the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for adopting new rules requiring that registered investment advisers and mutual funds adopt proxy-voting policies and procedures and disclose their actual proxy votes to clients.

"We applaud this bold action by the SEC mandating proxy disclosure," said Frank Coleman, Executive Vice President of CBIS. "We believe proxy-voting transparency will have favorable effects upon corporate governance, will better protect America's investors, and will help restore confidence in the integrity of financial markets."

CBIS was one of the first investment advisers in the nation to voluntarily disclose its proxy-voting policies and voting record, which it now publishes on its web site (www.cbisonline.com). It has been disclosing its proxy votes to investment clients since 1989. For the past decade, it has also published and provided its clients with detailed, comprehensive Proxy Voting Guidelines disclosing how it intends to vote their shares on a variety of issues involving corporate governance and corporate social responsibility.

"We have always considered proxy-voting disclosure fundamental to the fiduciary duty we owe our investment participants," says CBIS' Coleman. "The new SEC rule - mandating that all investment advisers provide such disclosure - is an extremely important and timely reform."

CBIS is urging Catholic institutions and their money managers, who now must comply with the new rule, to adopt proxy-voting guidelines that take into account social and environmental issues as well as corporate governance issues.

"The recent corporate scandals reveal that our system of corporate governance and accountability lacks adequate checks and balances," says Coleman. "This has underscored the need for investment advisers, mutual funds and other institutional investors to take their obligations as shareholders more seriously, and to play a more active role in corporate governance.

"For faith-based institutions, however, there is an additional imperative: aligning their investments with their values, and with their missions of promoting social and environmental responsibility. We would urge Catholic institutions and their investment advisers to adopt proxy-voting policies that commit these investors to monitoring and improving not only corporate governance but the social and environmental responsibility of the companies they invest in."

CBIS' Proxy Voting Guidelines, which are available in PDF format on the firm's web site (www.cbisonline.com), cover a wide range of issues including board elections and diversity, auditor independence, executive compensation and stock options, health and environmental policies, labor and human rights practices, life ethics, militarism and other issues.

Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS) manages approximately $3 billion for Catholic organizations seeking to combine faith and finance through the responsible stewardship of Catholic assets. CBIS' combination of premier institutional asset managers, diversified product offerings, and careful risk-control strategies constitutes a unique investment approach for Catholic institutions and their fiduciaries. CBIS strives to integrate faith-based values into the investment process through a disciplined approach to socially responsible investing that includes principled purchasing (stock screens), active ownership strategies (proxy voting, dialogues with corporate management, shareholder resolutions) and community investment. The firm contributes a portion of all profits to support the Church's educational and social ministry.

Additional information regarding CBIS's Proxy Voting Guidelines may be obtained by calling (800) 592-8890 or visiting the firm's web site (www.cbisonline.com).

For more information, please contact:

Robert P. Stelben Christian Brothers Investment Services
Phone: +1-800-592-8890


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