First Super rallies overseas managers in bid against bank’s governance

First Super plans to challenge JP Morgan’s governance model at the bank’s upcoming annual general meeting (AGM). 

It has announced it is contacting its overseas equity managers which include Global Thematic Partners, BlackRock, Capital International and Orbis Global Equity Fund to let them know of the position it will take at JP Morgan’s next AGM.  

Chief executive Michael O’Connor said the governance issues at the bank were a real worry for the fund, particularly the dual role of chief executive and board chair James Dimon.  

He said failing to split the roles reflected serious inadequacy in the bank’s governance and presented unacceptable risks for investors.  

“Additionally our views align with what may well be an emerging global consensus that a number of directors are fundamentally not fit to maintain their positions with the bank, given recent scandals,” he said.  

“Open, transparent, representative governance is not only overdue but essential for improved risk management within the bank.”  

Its position was consistent with its divestment of News Ltd shares in January, the fund said.  

“We take very seriously our responsibilities to members to invest their money in entities with robust governance and a strong track record of responsible corporate behaviour.” 

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