Votermedia Finance Blog

October 27, 2009

SECIAC meetings: videos & minutes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Mark Latham @ 9:21 am

The SEC Investor Advisory Committee web page has links to videos and minutes of our meetings (+ other info). Videos for the 2009-07-27 meeting and the 2009-10-05 meeting have been posted. Minutes for 2009-07-27 are posted, but not for 2009-10-05 yet.

If you’d like to see where on each video I spoke up, here are the times and summaries of what I said:

2009-07-27 video 1 (morning):

0:35:25 I introduced myself — my background and some views on investor education.

1:52:34 I suggested consideration of an investor education pilot program using a competitive voting system to allocate public funds.

2009-07-27 video 2 (afternoon):

0:15:00 I agreed with Mr. Salisbury that our advice should take into account other existing and proposed investor education initiatives.

0:41:12 I described new tools for individual investors to vote by copying the votes of institutional investors, being developed by ProxyDemocracy, a non-profit group at which I serve as a director. I noted that newcomer MoxyVote plans to offer something similar.

0:57:45 I suggested that shareowner resolutions relating to auditor selection should not be deemed ‘ordinary business’ and thus excludable from the proxy. I noted a parallel with director elections, which are now being considered fair game for shareowner involvement.

2009-10-05 video 1 (morning):

2:52:40 I suggested that our ability to submit both majority and minority views as advice to the SEC makes the proposed recusal policy less necessary.

1 Comment

  1. Here’s a transcript of my remarks on 2009-07-27 video 2 (afternoon) at 0:41:12 —

    I think the proxy voting issue is one of the most important issues this committee can address. I agree with pretty much all of the remarks that Stephen Davis made. I’d like to add something which I think is also perhaps the most important point in here. It’s a new development that I think has not had its impact yet, but soon will. And that’s in the first bullet point: ‘The issues unique to individual investors’. I think not so much ‘educational materials’, but rather, new tools for individual investors to vote.

    I neglected to mention when I introduced myself: I’m a director of a nonprofit called ProxyDemocracy. One thing it is doing, it’s using the disclosure of mutual fund votes to put together a database that’s usable, very user-friendly, in which you can compare the voting records of all the mutual funds in their database, on different issues, such as on environmental issues and other issues. They are now building tools so that individual investors can vote their stock by copying the votes of mutual funds and other, pension funds as well, who disclose their votes in advance of the deadline.

    That, I think, is a very important new development because, for the average individual investor, it’s hard to look at individual proxy voting issues. But this opens the door for individual investors to put institutional voting into competition with each other, and say, “Among all these institutional votes which are now disclosed, which ones are doing a better job than which?” I think that’s a very important new development because, after all, the institutions are voting on behalf of individuals. This gives, really for the first time, an opportunity for individuals to step up and really have a voice and say, “Here’s how I want to vote my stock, and by the way, that stock in mutual funds, that’s my stock too and I may not be happy with the way it’s being voted.”

    I think that’s a very important development. ProxyDemocracy is one initiative. There is another one, Moxy Vote, which is coming soon. I think that’s very important and deserves some attention. Thank you.

    Comment by Mark Latham — May 1, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

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