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SEC Proxy Voting Roundtable Set for Early 2015

As the debate heats up on which rules the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) should use for expanding or limiting a shareholder’s influence, the agency has decided to hold a public discussion on proxy voting issues. Scheduled for early next year, the roundtable marks the second time in recent memory the SEC has solicited feedback on the topic and will review the Investor Advisory Committee’s (“the Committee”) recommendation of updating proxy ballot rules.

As part of its revised rules push, the Committee wants Rule 14a-4(d)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to permit the use of a universal proxy card. In contrast to U.S. companies usually printing a management-backed list of directors on one proxy card and naming the shareholder-sponsored nominees on a separate card, the updated card would place all director nominees on one ballot. If the SEC moves forward with the rule amendment, investors voting through a proxy card will have the same flexibility voting as the shareholders with their shares at the yearly meeting. Further, the changes would make it easier to split tickets between board candidates supported by management and shareholders.

No official date or agenda has been announced for the roundtable discussion. In the meantime, keep checking our blog for further details. Also visit the SEC Audit page for information on how Cherry Bekaert’s SEC Compliance Services professionals can assist your company.

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