JPMorgan Chase – 2015
Whereas, our Company acknowledges its ongoing role in policymaking in its published policy, stating: “JPMorgan Chase believes that responsible corporate citizenship demands a strong commitment to a healthy and informed democracy through civic and community involvement”;
Whereas, recent activities demonstrate our company’s successful efforts influencing the rules of the game. For instance, our company has effectively utilized the so – called revolving door between government and business, (for example, using the services of a former Acting Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Corporation Finance for representation in opposing shareholder proposals that might expand the firm’s social responsibility obligations);
Whereas, the proponent believes it is vital to give shareholders an opportunity to ratify or reject a “no holds barred” role of our company in policymaking and politics;
Resolved, shareholders request the board adopt policy principles, above and beyond our company’s existing guidelines on policy engagement and political participation, guiding our company’s participation in public policy along the following lines:
While always operating within the limits of the law:
- Our company owes no political or financial allegiance to any public jurisdiction or government;
- Our company should maximize shareholder value, regardless of any consequences of such conduct on people or communities;
- Our company should exert maximum influence over the political process to control government and further the self – interest of the corporation and its shareholders.
Furthermore, within the limits allowed by law and our articles of incorporation, bylaws, and similar governing documents:
- The sole purpose of our company should be to enrich its managers and shareholders;
- The sole moral obligation of the directors should be to maximize shareholder value, regardless of any unintended economic or social injury to others possibly resulting from corporate conduct.
The Final Report of the National Commission on the Causes of the Financial Crisis in the United States in January 2011 stated one of the causes of the crisis was “. . . a systemic breakdown in accountability and ethics.” By another view, however, our own company’s occasional lapses merely demonstrate a failure to influence laws and regulations consistent with the above principles. By this view, our company’s destiny is for corporate political leadership, as well as economic leadership.
Milton Friedman once said, “The kind of economic organization that provides economic freedom directly, namely, competitive capitalism, also promotes political freedom because it separates economic power from political power and in this way enables the one to offset the other.” But today, our company can proclaim political and economic power are no longer separate; our company wields both.
In voting FOR this proposal, shareholders express the view our company should influence public policy to maximize wealth creation for management, board and shareholders, even at cost to public welfare or the economy, and should take actions to amend its governing documents and any of its existing policies promoting human rights, sustainability, community relations or corporate social responsibility as needed to reflect this viewpoint.