DETROIT, Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust ("Trust"), along with a coalition of 11 investors representing $500 billion in assets, today released a guide for institutional investors seeking to engage public companies on capital allocation decision-making, with an emphasis on share buybacks. The document, "Bridging the Disclosure Gap: An Engagement Guide" ("Guide") is designed to foster better communication between investors and portfolio companies while encouraging more transparency around the board's role in overseeing share buybacks. The Guide is based on findings from investor engagements with 12 public companies in 2016. The Guide notes the recent surge in corporate share buybacks and the related gap in disclosing the capital allocation analysis and process that boards undertake in determining how, when, and why they initiate a share buyback program. "Shareholders look to the board to ensure that capital allocation decisions including share buybacks support a long-term business strategy by taking an active oversight role in the decision-making process," said Meredith Miller, Chief Corporate Governance Officer for the Trust. "Current SEC rules require minimal disclosure. To protect our long-term investments, we need to have the information necessary to better understand how boards effectively manage opportunities and risks." Despite large cash outlays for share buybacks, current U.S. securities laws don't require companies to disclose critical information investors need to evaluate share buyback programs. Once a buyback is executed, companies are only required to disclose the number of shares authorized for repurchase, the shares actually repurchased, average price per share, and information about when the plan expires. While companies generally comply with these limited disclosures, they usually don't report much more. The Guide's findings and recommendations are based on exchanges with 12 large company boards that had engaged in buybacks from 2010-2014. Findings suggest that companies are willing and able to discuss the motives behind share buybacks. Similar efforts from Tapestry Networks and IRRC Institute found that disclosure to investors around share buybacks is limited, even as share repurchases have increased significantly over the past several years.