February 1, 2006
As an individual who owns more than 50 stocks, some of which I have held for more than half a century, I depend on receiving ALL company shareholder communications by mail. With so many companies now only sending the annual report and proxy material by mail, it is becoming increasing difficult to keep abreast of company developments. For instance, very, very few companies mail quarterly reports on their operations. I do not have a computer and never will as the last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer screen. There is no substitute for "hard copy." There must be thousands of investors who feel as I do.
On-line communications for institutional shareholders may be fine, but these shareholders are for the most part hardly what I would consider investors (the average mutual fund has an annual turnover of holdings in the area of 100 percent) but rather speculators moving in and out of stocks based on short-term considerations. Such activity has added greatly to stock market volatility and has even accounted for a large measure of current corporate emphasis on quarterly operating results rather than on longer-term perspectives.
As for the 1 billion cost to companies to print and mail proxies and annual reports last year that was mentioned in a Wall Street Journal article of November 30, 2005, it probably would not make any difference to company results as the savings would just end up in the form of even larger compensation to top company executives.
Please keep the mail coming--all of it