Top CEOs, Money Managers Want 'Commonsense' at Public Companies

A group of business leaders this week signed an open letter calling for reforms in how publicly-traded companies are run.  JPMorgan Asset Management CEO Mary Callahan Erdoes weighed in on the key principles the group is rallying behind.

“This all started with the heightened debate around short-termism, and short-termism really goes against the grain of what all Americans are looking for…. when they think about investing their profits, their savings for the future so that they can have a proper nest egg for retirement,” Erdoes told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.

Erdoes said that the objective of the letter was to help guide companies toward the right long-term objectives.

“Trying to think about how to get the dialogue back to corporate governance that gears everyone towards the right long-term goals was the goal for this.”

She said a great deal of thought was put into determining the business leaders who would be a part of penning the letter.

“We brought a group of people together starting with the real asset managers that govern and invest in these companies, Vanguard, BlackRock, T-Rowe, Capital Group, JPMorgan Asset Management, State Street, and then we gathered together some leading CEOs that we also thought were very important for the dialogue who run great companies, so General Electric, General Motors, Verizon.  And then of course two of … the people we think are the greatest thought leaders in the United States, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon,” she said.

She also said one area that the group wants addressed lies with assigning corporate board seats.

“What’s the role of the board, the role of the board is to oversee the company and not be beholden to the CEO, to be independent, to meet away from the CEO when you have board meetings. To be able to make sure that the right things are happening in the company,” she said.

Erdoes then explained JPMorgan’s policy for assessing company management.

“We [JPMorgan Asset Management] meet with about 10 different company management teams or boards of directors on a daily basis.  And every time we do that we’re looking for ‘are you thinking about the shareholder?  Are you investing for the long term?  Are the right checks and balances in place?’”