All I've managed to find is that David Blitzer is the Chairman, but can't seem to be able to know who are the others, how many, from what industries, how they get elected, etc.

Just trying to map out how the most influential index in the world ticks.

  • 2
    They are employees of Standard & Poor's, not publicly elected - not sure what you're expecting or why you want to know. – D Stanley May 10 '19 at 13:10
  • 1
    dude diligence, just trying to map out how the most influential index in the world ticks – coiso May 10 '19 at 13:42
  • 5
    "Dude diligence"! – mustaccio May 10 '19 at 14:09
  • haha. typo. however the question and the community neglect towards this makes me feel like this is a good potentially uncomfortable question to answer for those that know how to answer it – coiso May 10 '19 at 14:32
  • 3
    +1 from me. I'm not understanding the downvotes here. I think this is a great question about a process that impacts some of the largest index-based funds owned by tens of millions of individual investors around the globe [and I may be significantly understating that]. – Chris W. Rea May 10 '19 at 16:01

I found a good article about how Standards & Poors decides which companies are included in the S&P 500 index. It's from quite a while ago (year 2000), but it's somewhat definitive as it was written by David Blitzer himself. See ETF.com - Here, At The S&P 500 (archive copy).

While the article focuses on the criteria for company inclusion in the indices, there are some mentions of the Index Committee, w.r.t. why it exists and how it is made up.

Here are some notable excerpts from that article specifically about how the Committee operates:

[...] Standard & Poor's does not use an index committee to avoid rules and guidelines. In fact, the Committee not only uses guidelines but also publishes the guidelines (see box nearby) and explains how they are applied to specific index actions. Standard & Poor's uses a committee because we feel it is not possible to develop rules that will deal with any and all market events. [...]

... and an interesting anecdote about the Committee's decision on adding AOL to the index; all emphasis below is mine:

[...] During much of 1998 the stock's possible entry into the S&P 500 was a matter of wide speculation. Not wanting to encourage the speculation, Standard & Poor's watched the discussions from the sidelines. We do not want to move markets with our decisions if that is avoidable. That is not one of our goals as an index provider; in fact, one of our goals is to avoid unsettling markets. [...]

By late in the year, the discussions began to fade as many market commentators decided that Standard & Poor's would never add AOLto [sic] the S&P500. With the hype fading, Standard & Poor's announced the stock's addition to the index as a replacement for Venator (formerly Woolworth). [...]

... a part of the article specific to the makeup of the Committee itself:

[...] The Standard & Poor's Index Committee has nine members, all Standard & Poor's employees. All members are drawn from the Investment Services group at Standard & Poor's and all have various job responsibilities related to the indexes and the equity markets. The Committee includes two analysts monitoring the companies in the index who provide necessary support and index-management expertise within the Committee. [...]

Some investors and journalists seem to have images of pitched debates over issues that will move the stock market. As disappointing as the truth might seem, this is rarely, if ever, the case in the Index Committee. Most decisions have very limited, if any, market impact. Relatively few issues are hotly debated. The process is based on developing a consensus, not scoring debating points. Discussions where there is initial disagreement will continue until everyone has had an opportunity to present his or her view and a consensus has emerged. While most of the issues mentioned in this article were discussed in the Committee, none were the subject of any pitched debates. Moreover, we make sure that none of the Committee members disagrees with the ultimate decisions. [...]

... a section about confidentiality, where the Committee is mentioned:

Changes in the S&P 500 and other Standard & Poor's indexes do sometimes move stock prices. Because of this, Standard & Poor's considers all index changes and announcements to be market sensitive. [...] All members of the Index Committee plus other Standard & Poor's staff who work on index matters and have access to index information are subject to certain restrictions on their personal securities investments and trades.

... and a section on transparency, where the Committee is also mentioned:

We do not, however, encourage extended conversations [with the Index Committee] with those who want to know what they have to do to get a company into the S&P 500.

Overall, in the article Blitzer does not specifically mention confidentiality with respect to the individual membership of the Index Committee, but I think it's reasonable to assume that Committee membership is not published in order to reduce the possibility of outside influence on its members.

Here's another related article, also by David Blitzer: Indexology Blog - Inside the S&P 500: An Active Committee (archive copy).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.