The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that it will host a proxy voting roundtable on Thursday, February 19, 2015 (that was quick), to explore ways to improve the proxy voting process, with a focus on universal proxy ballots and retail participation in the proxy process.
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.
More details, including the agenda and list of participants, will be forthcoming.