SEC to Hold Roundtable on Proxy Voting
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that it will host a roundtable on February 19 to explore ways to improve the proxy voting process. The roundtable, which will be held at the SEC’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, will focus on universal proxy ballots and retail participation in the proxy process.
Proxy voting is important to both investors and companies. The ability to vote allows investors to make their views known to the company’s management and to participate effectively at annual or special meetings. Thus, the proxy voting process should be robust, effective and workable.
The roundtable will be divided into two panels:
- The first panel will focus on the state of contested director elections and whether changes should be made to the federal proxy rules to facilitate the use of universal proxy ballots by management and proxy contestants. This panel also will discuss the state law, logistical, and disclosure issues presented by a possible universal proxy ballot process.
- The second panel will focus on strategies for increasing retail shareholder participation in the proxy process. This panel will discuss how technology – by providing better access to information or easier means of voting – might affect retail participation. In addition, this panel will discuss whether the format of disclosure could be improved to increase the engagement of shareholders and how the mechanics of voting could be improved to affect retail shareholder participation.
The roundtable will be open to the public and webcast live on the SEC’s website. Additional information regarding the agenda and participants will be forthcoming.