Votermedia Finance Blog

July 20, 2009

Issues for SEC Investor Advisory Committee to address

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Mark Latham @ 3:41 pm

Last week the SEC asked Committee members to email them issues that each of us would like to see the Committee address in the next 2 years. Here’s what I suggested:

1. How to encourage and support proxy voting by individual investors:
– Encourage development of information infrastructure (mainly private sector websites) that will help individuals vote intelligently.
– Develop educational program that would be posted on the SEC website and would be widely distributed through brokers, AAII, AARP, Investor Protection Trust, 401(k) plans, etc. that explains the importance of proxy voting, how it relates to corporate governance, and how it provides an opportunity to influence both the earning power and social/environmental values of companies.

2. Disclosure of proxy votes by institutional investors:
– Require XBRL format.
– Require disclosure by pension funds.
– Encourage disclosure prior to annual meeting.

3. Review the integrity of the proxy voting process to ensure it truly reflects the wishes of the electorate:
– Get rid of “blank vote” mechanisms (where votes are filled in on blanks left by shareowners), share lending that may extend to votes, etc.

4. Auditor selection:
– Allow shareholder proposals that relate to auditor selection; up to now, companies are allowed to exclude such proposals under rule 14a-8(i)(7), as relating to “ordinary business matters”. Reasons for changing this are similar to reasons for allowing proposals that relate to director elections (http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2009/2009-116.htm). These matters are crucial for management accountability to shareowners.

So yesterday I was happy to see a comment submitted by the Investment Company Institute (most of whose members are mutual funds) that included this recommendation, which overlaps with my suggestion #2 above:

To the extent that the Committee believes that proxy vote disclosure achieves important public policy purposes, we urge it to support our recommendation to extend such disclosure to all institutional investors.

By the way, I welcome comments on this blog!

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2 Comments

  1. in ref to on2/google merger. most retail shareholders are against this sale and ther have been 2 shareholder meetings to see if the vote passed and the company has postponed the meeting 2 times to give more time to solicit votes(now to feb 18) butr on2 does inform us as to how many votes have been cast. seems they would have to reveal that info at the meeting and make it public to shareholders. on2 has lies to investors many times and are not trusted at all. how can we find out this info as in a case like this my understanding is any non votes count as no votes and on2 mgnt may be holding out till they get the votes they need to pass the sale against our will. they have also changed the cut cutt off date for voting your shares to benefit more arbitrage owners and take the power away from long time shareholders.

    Comment by sammy braswell — December 27, 2009 @ 12:09 pm

  2. […] votermedia @ 4:09 pm In the past three days I’ve received emails and comments (here, here, here & here) from shareowners of On2 Technologies – see the Yahoo Finance On2 message board, […]

    Pingback by On2 Shareowners Rebellion « VoterMedia Finance Blog — December 28, 2009 @ 4:10 pm


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