Thursday, April 2, 2009

Policy Makers Will Make Activist's Job Easier

An article in last week’s Wall Street Journal titled, Policy Makers Work to Give Shareholders More Boardroom Clout talks about federal and state policy makers advancing plans to give shareholders more power in corporate boardrooms.

The SEC, Congress and legislators in Delaware are all working on ways to make it easier for shareholders to choose directors.

Here are some important highlights from the article:

  • The SEC is likely to push forward a proxy access rule by mid-May that will make it easier for shareholders to nominate directors on corporate ballots. As a result, shareholder activists who satisfies the SEC requirements (likely to be linked to the value and length of ownership) will not have to spend their own money soliciting shareholder votes for the election of their director nominees.
  • Congressman Barney Frank is expected to submit legislation to give shareholders an advisory vote on executive pay.
  • The Delaware Senate is expected to pass legislation that would change the state's corporate laws, permitting company bylaws to (i) require that a company include shareholder nominees in its proxy statement, and (ii) that a company reimburse shareholders for the expense of running proxy contests. The law could take effect as soon as August.
Posted by Damien Park, President Hedge Fund Solutions