Participate in the ISS Annual Policy Development Process

ISSInstitutional Shareholder Services Inc.(ISS), a leading proxy advisor, kicked off its annual global policy formulation process in July 2013 by inviting institutional investors, corporate issuers, corporate directors and various other governance market constituents to participate in its 2014 proxy voting policy survey.  This year, the survey has been streamlined to encourage global market participants to provide regional input on corporate governance issues that are pertinent to all capital markets worldwide. I encourage all investors to participate.  ISS influence the vote; you should influence them. 

One problem is their schedule…  announcing its final policies in early November. John Chevedden, the most prolific filer, says that by that time he will have submitted 40% of his 2014 proposals.  Although your answers won’t influence filers for some time, they will influence ISS and next year’s voting behavior. From the ISS announcement:

In addition to its global survey, ISS will conduct a variety of regionally-based , topic-specific roundtables and conference calls to drill into local market best practices, which factor into the development of policy guidelines.  ISS will then open a 30-day comment period for all interested market participants.

“Although aligning executive pay and company performance will continue to be important to institutional investors, we are seeing renewed focus on the Directors and Boardroom decision-making,” said Dr. Martha Carter, ISS’ Head of Global Research and Policy.  “To that point, we are seeking market input on issues such as board tenure, committee chair rotation and share authorizations.”

In response to market feedback, the survey period has been lengthened to six weeks and ISS will make every effort to release its final policy updates 1-2 weeks earlier than in previous years.  The high level timeline is as follows:

July 31Policy Survey released
August/SeptemberRegional market roundtables and outreach
September 13Policy Survey closes
End of SeptemberSurvey results released
OctoberOpen comment period
NovemberFinal policy updates released
February 12014 voting policies implemented

The open comment period is designed to elicit objective, specific feedback from investors, corporate issuers and industry constituents on the practical implementation of proposed policies. Unless specifically requested by the submitter, feedback received during the open comment period will be made available via ISS’ online Policy Gateway.

“Transparency and inclusiveness are long-time hallmarks of ISS,” said Gary Retelny, President of ISS.  “The significant input we receive from all market constituents ensures that ISS’ policies reflect market best practices, create dialogue around important issues and, most importantly, serve the proxy voting needs of our institutional clients worldwide.  We encourage all interested market constituents, investors and companies alike, to provide input through our survey or by writing directly to the ISS Feedback Review Board.” 

To learn more about ISS’ policy formulation process and the results of our annual survey, please visit the links below.

Participate in the 2013-2014 Policy Survey2013 Policy Information

If you have any questions about the survey or the survey process, please contact Bimal Patel at +1.301.556.0418 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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