The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced a series of steps to educate investors about proxy voting and support greater investor participation in corporate elections. The series of measures include amending the SEC’s e-proxy rules, issuing an investor alert, and creating new internet resources that explain the proxy voting process in plain language.
“Investor participation in elections at companies they own is critical to effective corporate governance,” said SEC chairman Mary Schapiro.
Last year, the SEC approved a change to the New York Stock Exchange rule that previously allowed brokers the discretion to vote shares held in customer accounts in an uncontested election of directors without receiving voting instructions from those customers. Now, brokers can only vote those shares in elections at companies if their customers instruct them. The change does not apply to mutual funds or certain closed end funds.
“The recent changes to the voting rules for the election of directors have increased the importance of voter participation,” added Schapiro.
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