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Steven Towns

 
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  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Thanks for your comment, TudorInvestHoldings. Absolutely right that there seems to be little incentive for the large institutional investors to want to rock the boat. If there were only more of us voting shareholders and if more of the shareholding public only knew of how badly our interests are being represented by fiduciaries and board directors, we could certainly light a fire under the BlackRocks of the investment world. I think this is a good start, all the individuals who have read my proxy review and are commenting here. Also, a site like MoxyVote.com has seen its membership grow quite impressively.

    Regarding board tenure as a main reason for replacement, I agree, except for the case that GE's track record under their overlapping tenures is most unsatisfactory for the various reasons I mentioned. I also don't think they can claim to be independent when they've been directors for so long; in some cases, outside of past employment, it appears the $300K of compensation could be a key source of income, too. Thus, in short, we really need a board that's at least half comprised of truly independent directors.

    LOL wrt pulling hair over share issuances. The "market" clearly doesn't buy GE's buybacks. What a waste!
    Apr 12, 2012. 06:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Thanks, football frank. Voting AGAINST Immelt is certainly another way to approach it; maybe the better way! My only feeling is who would replace him? Does the board even have a short list for a what-if scenario?
    Apr 12, 2012. 06:45 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Thanks for your comment, Mark, and great to hear you've been consistently voting your shares. No doubt there's a trend with GE for ultimately an ever higher share count despite tens of billions of buybacks in order to facilitate equity-based compensation.
    Apr 12, 2012. 06:43 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Excellent! Thanks for doing that and for sharing.
    Apr 11, 2012. 08:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Thanks for your comment, wigit5. CEOs and NEOs (the top-5 named executive officers per SEC compensation disclosure req.) have it so good that they and the many lobbyists they employ are coming up with every reason (fabricated and implausible) possible to avoid having to disclose how much the median employee makes at their company and the ratio of pay between CEO to the median worker. I countered the lobbyists on this absurdity in a public comment to the SEC. I encourage you and all others to do the same. See comment letters (esp. Feb 6 and Jan 19), http://1.usa.gov/IvD6s3
    Apr 11, 2012. 08:54 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    You're welcome, and thank you, DAG1996. Shared sentiments as a reader myself!
    Apr 11, 2012. 06:48 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Good one, Doggoneit. GE's board seems to distant to recognize their disservice to the very people (the shareowners) they are supposed to be looking after.
    Apr 11, 2012. 12:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Good points, svosavvy. Out-of-the-money priced options would be a better incentive from investors' point of view, but surely management wouldn't like the collapse of returns compared to them being priced at the prevailing market price. I don't recall where, but I remember reading recently about a paper that suggested executives could be paid bonuses in terms of how the company's debt performs. I think that moving away from simply throwing millions worth of equity at executives, whether common or options, is beneficial for all stakeholders except those with self-interest. Better pay-for-performance, such as one that incorporates bond performance (where applicable) would be good. There's always loopholes though. We'd probably see more capital flowing into the bond market as opposed to being used for buybacks, and more early bond retirements.
    Apr 11, 2012. 12:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Thanks for your comment. No question that we see overlap in board directors and the compensation practices really allow for outsized wealth accumulation in very short periods and despite massive losses.
    Apr 11, 2012. 12:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Thanks for your comments, vfa-life. Agreed re #2. Just seems like a tremendous sum of money year-after-year. There should be a point after which a system is place to do the auditing and not have to bill from scratch if you know what I mean. $100M+ dollars annually!
    Apr 11, 2012. 12:24 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    You're welcome, Big Thunder. Thanks for your comment.
    Apr 11, 2012. 12:22 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Thank you for your comment, dedv. I, too, am planning to be holding for the long-term. The only consolation of my holding to-date, since circa '05, is that I have been accumulating at comparatively low prices per share on a monthly basis over the past few years. It's taking longer than expected post-crash, but it seems GE's poised to start really moving the needle on the dividend to get it back to the highwater mark (that's really more contingent on earnings, but GE is sitting on a massive pile of cash). In other words, it's a matter of when, not if, GE Capital begins paying a dividend back to the parent, which should mean GE is then able to blow all it wants on buybacks (unfortunately) and show more love via dividends.
    Apr 11, 2012. 12:22 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Thanks for your comment and thoughts. I agree that independent is not always better. Maybe GE ought to have a couple former officers as a part of bringing in new faces. This board is really too tenured and clearly the past decade has not been a very good one for the company.
    Apr 11, 2012. 12:16 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • GE's 2012 Proxy: Pleasing Performance? [View article]
    Thank you for your comment, Jambro. If you have time, I'd be interested to know the proposals for which you have a different conclusion.
    Apr 11, 2012. 12:14 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Good to see someone make a call for Japanese stocks, and not surprised it's Marc Faber. See my just-published book about investing in Japan: "there's no market as undervalued and as misunderstood." http://bit.ly/GFaNqj
    Apr 3, 2012. 11:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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