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T. Rowe stockholders approve board members, nix climate change proposal

From left, Edward Bernard, vice chairman,  Bill Stromberg- CEO and Brian Rogers, chairman of the board, speaking at the T. Rowe Price annual shareholders meeting. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

From left, Edward Bernard, vice chairman, Bill Stromberg- CEO and Brian Rogers, chairman of the board, speaking at the T. Rowe Price annual shareholders meeting. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

T. Rowe Price shareholders re-elected all 12 nominees for the company’s board of directors at its annual meeting on Wednesday. Shareholders also approved 2015 compensation for T. Rowe Price executives and the reappointment of KPMG as the company’s public accounting firm for the year.

But shareholders rejected a proposal on the Baltimore-based investment firm’s voting policy on climate-change related issues.

The Janet Axelrod 1997 Revocable Trust wanted T. Rowe’s board of directors to issue a climate change report by November that would look at the company’s proxy voting practices in the past year they related to the company’s policy positions on climate change. The report would list instances of votes cast that were “inconsistent” with the company’s policy positions on climate change and propose ways to make the company’s stance on the issue more consistent.

“Proxy voting is one of the principal ways in which investors can engage in active management of portfolio risks and opportunities related to climate change,” the proposal said.

But T. Rowe shareholders, in line with the board of directors recommendation, voted against the proposal, with the board saying it draws “an inappropriate connection” between the company’s proxy voting policy and its position on climate change. The board pointed to steps T. Rowe has taken to reduce its environmental impact, such as installing solar panels on its Maryland offices.

“The suggestion that the Price Group Board of Directors should intervene in oversight of the Price Advisers proxy voting is inappropriate and conflicts with the fiduciary principles applicable to the Price Advisers,” the board said in its response.

In its first quarter earnings release on Tuesday, T. Rowe reported diluted earnings of $1.15 per share and $728.1 billion in average assets under management, down from the $759 billion reported a year ago. Total assets under management were up $1.5 billion from the prior quarter.

CEO Bill Stromberg, speaking at Wednesday’s meeting at the firm’s Owings Mills campus, attributed the earnings results to market volatility that affected many public companies in the beginning of the year. Stromberg added things have improved for the United States markets.

“We feel the economy is muddling along,” he said.

T. Rowe’s board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.54 per share payable on June 29 to shareholders as of the close of business on June 15.

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