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Steven Towns

 
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  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    I appreciate your comment, Rita. Way to vote and leave the handwritten note! I agree, the time to act is now. That the board is "independent" is a farce. If only more individuals would read their proxies and/or hopefully come across articles such as this one, they would quickly realize the hoodwinking: by directors (against shareholders), by executives (against directors). And we can only imagine how institutional shareholders fit in here. With winks and closed eyes, we have a rotten system of enabling undue privilege.
    Apr 17 12:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    Thanks for your comments, danf. Current tax law disallows business cost deduction for executive salaries paid in excess of $1M. It seems a revised or new tax law may be one of the easiest ways to limit runaway executive compensation. The real problem is less the cash salary, but more the bonuses, equity grants and pension values, which often dwarf the salary.

    I'm not sure I agree with you regarding an exemption for founders. They already own a certain equity stake, and are now more "liquid" by way of public listing. In their executive or nonexecutive chairperson capacity, they should be subject to same "limits" on compensation.
    Apr 17 12:18 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    Thanks for your comments, Old Wizard. I agree, must replace directors with more relevant and qualified ones; but first, must rid the company of the "dinosaur" directors, thus must vote "for" cumulative voting and vote "against" select directors. Myopia amongst managers became infectious as you point out. Not sure that outside shareholders, especially individuals, have any way of effecting change via existing means, however, new directors and less executive compensation are a start. I am all about "aligning interests," but paying millions annually in cash and basically giving away company equity is too much. Depending on how far GE Capital is pared back, it seems a breakup warrants serious discussion. Your thoughts?
    Apr 17 12:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    Must vote 'for' cumulative voting and 'against' select directors! Hopefully the vote results will improve over last year!
    Apr 13 09:51 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    "Dinosaur nature," indeed. We'll lose a shareowner supporter, but glad you find such board tenure problematic.
    Apr 13 09:50 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    Obviously people can't complain of nearly trebling their money when buying GE near the trough. That's not the point of my article, of course. Regarding the SEC, there's little recourse, as I said, but there is hope since the SEC has provided for proxy voting (as imperfect as it is) and has allowed for "say-on-pay," but the problem is the non-binding status of votes and the onerous requirements for shareholders to get tightly controlled language onto the proxy. With regards to fund indexes, I think that's actually the worst thing since funds tend to largely, blindly vote in-line with management's recommendations, which is a free gift to mgmts, enabling their privileged looting, again with no real recourse. I believe that pooled holders (ie fund shops) should not be allowed to vote shares without the ultimate shareholders' input.
    Apr 13 09:45 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    Couldn't believe my eyes at first, "... so happy that he had Alzheimer the last five years," but it quickly made sense. How sad! Many comments and emails received similar to yours with regards to past employment and pride that has since eroded.
    Apr 13 09:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    That's one of the problems, non-executive insiders enjoy nowhere near the absurd remunerative privileges of the executive class, so even with a depressed stock price, many execs received million dollar-plus cash salaries, bonuses, and continued to accumulate millions more in pension value. The stock (and obviously the option grants) are like call options in some respect!
    Apr 13 09:29 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    Gregok -- unfortunately it's not just GE, any company can do the same (ie work the phones and other means to sway votes). That's exactly why I published this article and am trying to raise awareness. Hope that there will be more votes for cumulative voting this year -- although shareholder proposals are advisory (non-binding). Still, it's a start.
    Apr 13 09:27 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    Thanks for sharing this, Sparkja. Sad, disturbing, but not surprising. Please see the contact info at www.ge.com/investors/i... and www.ge.com/company/gov....
    Apr 12 12:55 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    No doubt the longstanding attitude has been to sell if displeased. Maybe even go short if you like. However, in this case, I think longer-term shareowners are best to heed Ben Graham's advice to take a stand.
    Apr 12 12:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    Saddened to hear your story. Hope that you have read the proxy, my review, and others' takes, and vote accordingly. While only advisory (i.e. non-binding) perhaps any tally of votes 'against' executive compensation at GE will be enough to send a message and/or generate momentum for future action and a future vote even more heavily 'against.'
    Apr 12 12:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Latent Power of GE Shareholders [View article]
    Thanks for your comment George. I concur 100% with regards to gross negligence -- within the current BoD and widespread across listed companies. Some walked away with millions, many remain entrenched with millions and are handing out or siphoning off many more millions.
    Apr 12 12:07 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • GE’s share repurchases: buy high, sell low [View instapost]
    Thanks for your comment, docscholl! I saw the NYT piece, too. Note that I have an update on GE forthcoming very soon that you must read. Follow me on SA or look out for it to hit the "wire".

    Best,
    Steven
    Mar 29 10:30 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • "We have sold everything we can produce in silver and have demand for at least twice that volume," says the head of sales at the Royal Canadian Mint. Silver surges another 1.9% to $32.16/oz., even as news floats of an impending margin hike. Next stop: Hunt Brothers. SLV +1.0%.  [View news story]
    That should be $32.16 per "oz" not "lb." Anyway, margin hikes seem to hit price for day or two tops. Prudent perhaps, but previous ones were announced w/o warning and cause of unnecessary volatility. Dubious origin imho. Not sure it makes sense to invoke Hunt Brothers at current price level and circumstances (demand for physical!).
    Feb 18 10:54 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
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292 Comments
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