At the beginning of June, I submitted a standard 3/3/25 proxy access proposal to Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:BR). Like Whole Foods Market (WFM) and H&R Block (HRB), Broadridge also preempted the shareholder’s meeting by adopting a lighter version of proxy access. As I did at the other two firms, I declared victory at Broadridge and withdrew my proposal. Continue Reading →
Tag Archives | Broadridge
ProxyPulse, a partnership of Broadridge Financial Solutions and PwC’s Center for Board Governance, released its first report of 2015, based on results from the 2014 fall mini-season that analyzed beneficial shareholder data from 1,077 U.S. public company shareholder meetings. There are lessons here for both issuing companies and shareholders. Continue Reading →
Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (BR), which provides investor communications and technology-driven solutions for the financial services industry, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 11/13/2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked on 11/3/2014. I voted with management 80% of the time and assigned them a proxy score of 80. View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Broadridge 2014 proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →
The Investor as Owner Subcommittee of the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee (SEC-IAC) established pursuant to Section 911 of the Dodd-Frank Act issued a report on Impartiality in the Disclosure of Preliminary Voting Results. The recommendations will be discussed at a meeting on October 9, 2014.
|When:||Thursday, October 9, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm|
|Who:||Investor Advisory Committee|
|What:||Investor Advisory Committee Quarterly Meeting|
|Where:||Multipurpose Room, SEC Headquarters, 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC|
|Contact:||Frankie White, Office of the Investor Advocate, (202) 551 – 4310|
The members of the subcommittee are listed here. After I discuss the SEC-IAC’s two recommendations briefly below, which I support, I then urge readers to write to the SEC-IAC requesting they address additional issues of impartiality. Continue Reading →
Yesterday, I posted a recent letter to the editor of Pensions & Investments praising their editorial, Winning Over Proxy Voters, which argues that institutional investors have a fiduciary duty to announce their proxy votes in advance of annual meetings, if doing so is likely to influence voters. If institutional investors heed their call, it will speed the development of open client director voting (CDV) and more intelligent proxy votes.
As corporate power grows and the power of government falls, mechanisms to govern corporations become more important. As government power falls, their power to regulate corporations falls as well. Further, as the influence of corporations over governments increases (e.g. lobbying) the will of governments to regulate corporations also falls. – CHR for Social Responsibility
Historically, most retail shareowners toss their proxies. During the first year under the “notice and access” method for Internet delivery of proxy materials, less than 6% made use of their proxy votes. Those that do vote own disproportionately more shares (about 25-30% of total retail shares). The voting rate hasn’t improved much, if at all. This contrasts with almost all institutional investors voting, since they have a fiduciary duty to do so. Unfortunately, it isn’t time/cost efficient to read through the entire proxy to vote a few retail shares intelligently. Continue Reading →
Broadridge Financial Solutions $BR is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 11/14/2013. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund when I checked on 11/8/2013. I voted with management 92% of the time. View Proxy Statement. Continue Reading →
Inside Investor Relations (IR) had an important article on July 30th, On the Way to the Investor Forum that raised the question: do companies really want to encourage their shareholders to chat about them in online forums? Wouldn’t it create a lot of work for investor relations officers (IROs) “who are responsible for monitoring these online groups, responding to any misinformation posted on them, dealing with legal and other consequences?” Continue Reading →
- Two additional company received less than 50% ‘For’ but considered the vote a win because ‘For’ votes outnumbered ‘Against’ votes due to abstentions. I say they’re crazy. They failed.
- Nine companies have failed previous votes
- Abercrombie & Fitch Co. failed in 2012
- Big Lots, Inc. failed in 2012
- Cogent Communications failed in 2011
- Comstock Resources failed in 2012
- Freeport McMoran Copper & Gold, Inc. failed in 2011
- Gentiva Health Services failed in 2012
- Three companies have failed all three of their say on pay votes (2011, 2012 & 2013)
- Kilroy Realty Corp.
- Nabors Industries Ltd.
- Tutor Perini Corp. Continue Reading →
Time to Move Down the Food Chain With Proxy Proposals
How does director voting look so far this year? Eighty percent of directors up for election received over 90% shareholder support. And nine of ten received at least 80% support. Directors of large-cap companies had the highest rate of support, averaging 95% approval. Small cap and Micro-cap directors had the lowest affirmative rates, with 76% voting “for.” Only a very small number of individual directors (less than 2%) failed to receive majority shareholder support. (From ProxyPulse, a Broadridge PwC Initiative. Much more at the site.) Continue Reading →
That was the blaring headline in Ross Kerber’s article for Reuters yesterday. Unfortunately, they didn’t dump one-click voting; they renamed it.
The real change was almost entirely for appearances. We no longer have a “Vote with the Board’s Recommendations” button. Instead, we have a “Submit” button. What happens when you hit that button and don’t fill out anything else? All your votes go to the board recommended boxes. There is no change in what actually happens. If there are 20 items, it still takes one click to vote with the board, 21 to vote against the board. Continue Reading →
I found another case of corporate elections where ballot measures failed to be identified “clearly and impartially.” This time at Oshkosh ($OSK). Should we be surprised? Isn’t it time you took a minute out of your day to send a message to the SEC asking for an end to such abuses?
When it comes to proxy ballots, regulations are complex and mailing deadlines are tight. Broadridge helps fulfill regulatory responsibilities efficiently and economically. Broadridge handles the entire process on-line and in real time, from coordination with third-party entities to ordering, inventory maintenance, mailing, tracking and vote tabulation. Continue Reading →
Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference discusses the “Broken Window theory.
If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge. Soon, more windows will be broken, and a sense of anarchy will spread.
In the following post I argue that relatively minor problems, like how items left blank on a proxy are counted and how Broadridge labels shareowner proposals, sends a signal. Just like an abundance of graffiti tells you gangs are in charge, switching blank votes to management and relabeling shareowner proposals to gibberish tells you that shareowners are indifferent and that corporate managers have a clear invitation to more serious crime. I ask readers to take a simple action at the end of the post that, like fixing broken windows, could lead to the end of much more serious abuses. Continue Reading →
My proposal to declassify the board at United Natural Foods, Inc. ($UNFI) passed by an overwhelming margin of 87.89%:
- 38,086,048 for
- 5,248,963 against
See their 8-K filing. Text (pdf) of proposal and opposition. Of course, the margin would have been even higher without insider holdings and blank votes going to management. Have we turned the corner on declassification measures to the point where companies might as well throw-in the towel and declassify when faced with such proposals? Continue Reading →
I attended a virtual-only meeting of United Natural Foods, Inc. yesterday and was pleased that a majority of shares were voted in favor of my proposal to declassify the board. That, combined with a move to majority vote requirements for directors a few years ago, helps move UNFI ($UNFI) into the center of the pack with regard to corporate governance. However, I am very disappointed with the lockout style annual meeting. They said they are open to change. Of course, that may depend on shareowners providing feedback. I hope you will join me in requesting changes. I tell you how at the end of this post and I make it a painless cut and paste exercise. Continue Reading →
Turkey became the first country to require issuers to offer electronic proxy voting with the 1 October inauguration of a voting platform from MKK called e-GEM. The system will stream annual general meetings (AGMs) real time and let shareowners communicate with each other, vote before the meeting, and even change their vote as an annual meeting occurs. Other markets have e-voting but do not require it of all listed companies. Expect other markets to keep an eye on this development. (Corporate Governance Roundup: New Rules in Canada, Switzerland, Continue Reading →