Who We Are
The Council of Institutional Investors is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association of U.S. public, corporate and union employee benefit funds, other employee benefit plans, state and local entities charged with investing public assets, and foundations and endowments with combined assets under management of approximately $4 trillion. Our members include major long-term shareowners with a duty to protect the retirement savings of millions of workers and their families, including public pension funds with more than 15 million participants – true “Main Street” investors through their pension funds. Our associate members include non-U.S. asset owners with about $4 trillion in assets, and a range of asset managers with more than $40 trillion in assets under management. CII is a leading voice for effective corporate governance, strong shareowner rights and sensible financial regulations that foster fair, vibrant capital markets. CII promotes policies that enhance long-term value for U.S. institutional asset owners and their beneficiaries.
Why We Began
CII was founded in 1985, a time of corporate takeovers, imperial CEOs and insulated boards of directors. Shareowners had little say in most corporate decisions and did not appreciate the potential power of their proxy votes. The founders were a group of 21 visionaries, most public pension fund officials, who believed that the companies in which they were investing their members’ retirement assets needed more oversight by shareholders. They also felt that by pooling their resources, institutional investors could use their burgeoning proxy power to hold companies accountable. CII's founding co-chairs were State Treasurer of California Jesse Unruh, New York City Comptroller Harrison J. Goldin and State of Wisconsin Investment Board Chair John Konrad.
Today, many CII corporate governance policies once considered radical are commonly accepted standards. Our voting membership has grown to more than 140 public, union and corporate employee benefit plans, endowments and foundations. They and other institutional shareowners have a much greater voice than they did in 1985 in part because of CII’s constant vigilance and hard work.
What We Do
CII educates members, and the public, about best corporate governance practices and provides opportunities for members to interact with peers, investment executives and policymakers. CII is a diverse community of professionals who come together to learn, share perspectives and advocate. CII's member-approved governance policies are the backbone of the advocacy work we do and they represent the melding of a diverse range of interests.
CII advocates on behalf of our members with companies, legislators, regulators and other key market participants. CII enjoys a reputation for honesty, leadership, thoughtful analysis and creative consensus-building. Investors, lawmakers, regulators, corporate officials and leaders of other public interest groups look to CII for expertise and ideas.
CII engages with key market participants across the investor spectrum, including public pension systems, corporate retirement funds, foundations, endowments, labor union funds, asset managers, exchanges, credit rating agencies, legislators and regulators and other service providers. With 29 of the top 50 largest U.S. Asset Owners and 310 total member organizations, our network is one of the largest in the U.S.and illustrates the unique cross-pollination of ideas and consensus-building that goes on at our organization.
Become a Member
Membership in CII is an opportunity to strengthen relationships with shareholders, asset owners and asset managers and stay in tune with US asset owner sentiment on investment-related issues in governance and markets.By joining CII, your organization can extend its influence and stay up-to-date on issues of importance to institutional investors. For more information about joining CII, visit our Why Join CII page.