A bill supported by The Real Estate Roundtable that would require public companies to report on the diversity of their corporate boards and executive officers was approved Tuesday by voice vote in the House Financial Services Committee. (Committee mark-up, April 20)
- The Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act (H.R. 1277) is sponsored in the House by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), left in photo, and in the Senate by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), right in photo. (Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 27)
- The bill would amend the 1934 Securities Exchange Act to require issuers of securities that must file annual reports to disclose in proxy statements:
- Data on the racial, ethnic, and gender composition of their executive officers, board of directors, and board nominees;
- Whether any director, board nominee, or executive officer is a veteran; and
- Plans or strategies to promote diversity at the board and executive levels.
- The Roundtable supports the Meeks-Menendez bill along with other groups including Nareit, NAIOP, International Council of Shopping Centers, Real Estate Executives Council (REEC), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Meeks news release, Feb. 23, 2021)
- The Roundtable joined other national organizations in a letter urging Financial Services Committee leaders to advance the legislation. The April 20 letter stated, “gender, racial, and ethnic diversity on corporate boards of directors … is important to institutional investors and other stakeholders, as well as to good corporate governance.”
- The full House is expected to vote in the coming weeks on the measure, which passed in the last session of Congress but stalled in the Senate (Roundtable Weekly, July 31, 2020). Now that the Senate is under Democratic control, the Meeks-Menendez bill has a higher likelihood of passing in both chambers.
- In related news, The Roundtable’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) Committee is coordinating with the Real Estate Executive Council (REEC) on efforts to promote the hiring of more minority- and women-business enterprises (MWBEs) in real estate’s “supply chain” of vendors and contractors.
The Roundtable is a “Founding Diversity Partner” in a REEC national program to improve diversity, racial equality, and inclusivity across the commercial real estate industry. (Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 5)
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