Archive for the ‘Bloomberg’ Category

BLOOMBERG SELLS ‘SUSTAINABILITY,’ BUT BUYER BEWARE

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Bloomberg Sells ‘Sustainability,’ but Buyer Beware

Virtue-signaling corporate standards may be better for financial firms than they are for investors.

By Allysia Finley Ms. Finley is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.  March 2, 2020

EXCERPT FROM THIS ARTICLE:Yet Mr. Bloomberg’s ultimate goal is to encode his standards in federal regulation. In his campaign proposal for financial reform, he says he’d urge the Securities and Exchange Commission to adopt a rule “requiring companies to publish information on the racial and gender composition of their boards, senior executives, hiring, pay and procurement,” as well as “climate risks.” If such a rule were adopted, companies could get sued even for unintentionally misreporting information. Trial lawyers stand to make out big.

Liberals like to say that sustainability is good for business—but mainly for those promoting it.

  

Michael Bloomberg became one of the world’s richest men by creating a financial software and data-analytics business to assist investors. He has since used his wealth to promote progressive causes. Now he’s standing behind a nonprofit financial venture that helps others cash in on liberal corporate virtue. Its name is the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board.

Mr. Bloomberg bankrolled the outfit, which was founded in 2011, to impose his enlightened political and cultural values on American corporations. SASB drew more attention in January when BlackRockCEO Larry Fink threatened to use his firm’s massive ownership stakes to oppose corporate managers who fail to follow the board’s standards.

SASB is modeled on the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which governs how businesses report financial information. It has a nine-member board that sets guidelines on the kinds of “sustainability” information corporations should disclose to investors. This information is supposed to be “material” to a company’s long-term financial performance.

Materiality is essentially a progressive term of art. SASB’s standards vary across 77 industries based on what its “stakeholders”—academics, attorneys, auditors, asset managers and businesses—consider important. Greenhouse-gas emissions are “material” to food and beverage companies but not to those that make consumer goods. Safeguarding customer welfare is important for health insurers though oddly not for airlines or banks.

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BLOOMBERG’S SUSTAINABILITY ACCOUNTING STANDARDS BOARD (SASB)

Thursday, February 20th, 2020

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Bloomberg’s Business Nanny

The Sustainability Accounting board is a stalking horse for progressive politics.

The Editorial Board   February 18, 2020

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink recently made a splash by threatening to vote against corporate managers who don’t disclose an array of non-financial information as directed by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. But what is SASB, and where is this all going?

Michael Bloomberg founded SASB in 2011 as a shadow regulator for his policy agenda. SASB claims to be modelled on the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), a nonprofit with the imprimatur of the Securities and Exchange Commission that regulates how corporations account for and disclose financial information.

SASB’s nine-member standards board issues guidelines for what kinds of sustainability information corporations should report to investors. Yet while financial accounting is more or less uniform for all businesses, SASB standards vary across 77 industries. Tracking the minutia will provide a lifetime job guarantee for corporate auditors.

Consumer banks have to disclose how many “no-cost retail checking accounts” they provide “to previously unbanked or underbanked customers.” Investment houses must document loans that incorporate “environmental, social and governance” factors. Casinos have to report the share of employees who work where smoking is allowed.

SASB requires businesses in most high-paying industries to disclose workforce diversity. “Hiring foreign nationals to compensate for shortages in local talent can create risks related to perceived social implications,” SASB says. That’s interesting because Mr. Bloomberg’s private media company, Bloomberg LP, reports 17% of its U.S. workers are foreign nationals while 10% are black or Latino. Under SASB this means Bloomberg needs to “improve employee engagement and work-life balance” to recruit more minorities and women.

Some standards would require a wild goose chase, literally. Restaurants must report their share of cage-free eggs and pork produced without gestation crates. Why not grass-fed beef and hormone-free chicken—or vegan meals, as the outfit Vegan Finance suggested in a public comment posted on SASB’s website?

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DEMOCRATS – THE INCOMPETENCE PARTY

Monday, February 17th, 2020

 

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The Incompetence Party

The Democrats’ biggest problem isn’t Bernie Sanders. It’s that many voters doubt the party’s ability to govern anymore.

 
By Daniel Henninger  February 12, 2020
 

Now that Bernie Sanders—once an obscure socialist senator from Vermont—is officially the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, it is time to confront what that means.

It does not mean the U.S. is flirting with socialism. That’s not going to happen. The meaning of Bernie’s ascent is that the Democratic Party, older even than he is, has simply run out of gas.

The Democrats resemble Europe’s aging political parties—Britain’s Labour, France’s Socialists, Germany’s Social Democrats and Christian Democrats. All have simply deflated with voters.

Signs of public fatigue with the Democrats could be seen in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Besides incompetence, the big story out of Iowa was low turnout. In New Hampshire the story was voter indecision. Once past Bernie’s 25% cement-block base, many voters were flipping a coin in the voting booth to pick from the other candidates.

What does it mean that Elizabeth Warren, by now a household name, got dropped to fourth place? Joe Biden’s humiliating fifth is a personal disaster, but what does that say about the party itself?

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