With just two firms controlling 97% of the market, there is growing concern over the influence that proxy advisory firms have over the governance of America’s public companies, prompting greater scrutiny of these little-known but powerful players in our financial markets.
Regulators and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, as well as investors, have called for reforms in order to make certain that proxy advisors provide high-quality, conflict-free guidance that delivers long-term value and returns to investors.
“For proxy advisory firms, I believe there is growing agreement that some changes are warranted.” – Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton
‘Shareholder engagement is a hallmark of our public capital markets and the proxy process is a fundamental component of that engagement.’
“I commend the SEC for its ongoing attention to this issue, including its recent staff roundtable on the proxy process and rules, and I encourage them to move forward with their reform efforts.” – Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID)
“Given the importance that investors have placed on continued access to proxy advisory firms, it is critical that proxy advisory firms are appropriately regulated and held accountable to investors.” – Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
With this increased spotlight comes a unique and timely opportunity for public companies to make sure their voices are heard on this issue. As the Securities and Exchange Commission and lawmakers consider potential reforms, companies can participate in the process by sharing their perspectives on how proxy advisors engage with them and influence their decision-making. It is critical that proxy advisors provide useful information for investors. If proxy advice does not meet that standard it may be difficult for intermediaries to fulfill their fiduciary duty to Main Street investors.
ProxyReforms.com is committed to providing America’s public companies, large and small, with a platform to do just that. Companies can confidentially submit their stories on the website, giving regulators and lawmakers a clearer picture of the issues surrounding proxy advisory firms and a rational path forward as more and more stories are gathered.
The site also provides recommendations on the specific reforms that we believe would offer an improvement over the status quo. The aim of these commonsense, practical changes is to materially enhance the system and ensure that proxy advisors provide accurate, objective and transparent guidance.
Reform of the proxy process at America’s public companies is long overdue. ProxyReforms.com provides a blueprint to fix the system and make sure that it actually serves the interests of Main Street investors.