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The SEC recently held a roundtable on the proxy process, the retail shareholder proposal process and the role of proxy advisor firms.
Bob Schifellite, President of Investor Communications Solutions at Broadridge, was asked to participate on the proxy process panel where topics included voting entitlements, new technologies, the NOBO/OBO rules and establishing greater investor confidence in the accuracy of voting results through a voting confirmation process.
Some participants advocated for an issuer choice model for proxy distribution and voting. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton began the day by saying that any changes should benefit Main Street investors. He concluded the session by stating the goals, including the importance of two-way communication, the existing intermediary system, and making sure votes are counted, noting: “… A more efficient and more certain end-to-end communication - two ways. The issuer knows they can communicate or the dissident, or the activist, knows they can communicate. And the shareholder knows that when they send their vote back, it’s counted.”
Chairman Clayton also stated, “I do think we have to have respect for our intermediary system. It’s not just an intermediary system for ownership and voting, but it is also an intermediary system for trading. It adds to efficiencies in trade.”
See a video of the roundtable and access the transcript here.