Category: Proxy Statements and Annual Meetings

Securities Law Matters to Consider for 2017

James Guttman

2016 was a busy year for securities law developments, with the SEC adopting and proposing new rules and issuing significant interpretations that will affect SEC reporting companies in the coming years. We have highlighted a few of these recent developments in this post as companies prepare for the upcoming reporting cycle. With the new incoming U.S. administration it is important to note that some of...

Recent Developments in Proxy Access

Cam C. Hoang

As the 2017 proxy season begins to unfold, proxy access continues to be a focus of shareholder proposals. Last year, companies that had already adopted mainstream proxy access bylaws, or that were planning to put mainstream proxy access bylaws up for a shareholder vote, were largely successful in being able to exclude shareholder proposals to adopt proxy access bylaws on the grounds that such proposals...

ISS Releases Executive Summary of 2017 Proxy Voting Policies

Cam C. Hoang

ISS has published an executive summary of 2017 updates to its benchmark proxy voting policies for the Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific regions.  The updated policies will generally be applied to shareholder meetings on or after February 1, 2017. U.S. policy changes are summarized below, and companies should keep them in mind as they consider policies on director compensation, dividend and vesting policies for stock awards,...

Glass Lewis Releases Its 2017 Policy Guidelines

Kimberley R. Anderson

Glass Lewis released its updated policy guidelines for the 2017 proxy season for several countries, including the United States and Canada.  The most significant change in the United States guidelines relates to director overboarding and was expected.  The changes to the United States guidelines include: Director Overboarding Policy As indicated in last year’s guidelines, in 2017, Glass Lewis will generally recommend voting against a director...

Act Now! Glass Lewis Opens Its Issuer Data Report Service Enrollment

Kimberley R. Anderson

On November 17, 2016, Glass Lewis opened enrollment for its 2017 Issuer Data Report (IDR) program.  This program will cover companies in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway and all EU countries on a first-come, first-served basis.  Space is limited, so the enrollment will close on the earlier of January 6, 2017, or as soon as the annual limit for each of the...

First U.S. Proxy Access Nominee

Jason Brenkert

On November 10, 2016, GAMCO Asset Management filed a Schedule 13D/A and 14N announcing that it had used the proxy access bylaw at National Fuel Gas to nominate a director candidate for election to NFG’s board at the upcoming 2017 annual meeting of shareholders.  This nomination appears to be the first use of proxy access bylaws by a shareholder to nominate a director in the...

SEC Staff Makes Life a Little Easier for Reporting Companies by Permitting Annual Reports to Shareholders to be posted on Company Websites

Jason Brenkert

On November 3, 2016, in a new C&DI, the SEC Staff stated they will not object if a company posts an electronic version of its annual report to shareholders on its corporate web site by the dates specified in Rule 14a-3(c), Rule 14c-3(b) and Form 10-K, respectively, in lieu of mailing paper copies or submitting it on EDGAR. The report must remain accessible for at...

SEC Proposes Universal Ballots in Contested Elections

Kimberley R. Anderson

On October 26, 2016, in a split vote, the SEC proposed the mandated use of universal ballots in contested director elections at annual meetings. The proposed rules were controversial even before they were proposed – the House of Representatives approved a spending bill this summer that included a provision prohibiting the SEC from proposing or implementing the use of the universal ballots in contested elections....

2016 Proxy Season Review: Shareholder Proposals

Cam C. Hoang

With most of the 2016 proxy season in the rear-view mirror, it’s clear that shareholder proposals continue to be a preferred vehicle for certain kinds of shareholder activism, though with limited effectiveness unless the company and the shareholder reach a negotiated outcome. Proxy access proved to be the notable exception. Overall, the total number of shareholder proposals submitted (916) was down from the all-time high...