Proxy Access Update
The 2015 proxy season has seen a significant increase in proposals seeking to give shareholders the ability to nominate directors of U.S. public companies using the company’s ballot. While voting results for proxy access proposals have been mixed, these proposals generally have received unprecedented levels of shareholder support. One driver of the increase in proposals was the campaign launched by the New York City Comptroller on behalf of the city’s large pension funds seeking proxy access at 75 companies. According to a mid-season report by Proxy Monitor, 72 percent of proxy access proposals coming to a vote by the end of May won the support of a majority of shareholders, compared to 3.5 percent of all other proposals. Read the Proxy Monitor report. In addition, five law firms submitted a joint letter to the SEC regarding the agency’s ongoing review of the shareholder proposal process for no-action requests made under Rule 14a-8(i)(9) relating to conflicting proposals, which is an important rule when a company seeks to implement proxy access on its own terms. Read more at bna.com.