The “Proxy Access Battlefront” has shifted once again, as reported by Ning Chiu of Davis Polk (The Proxy Access Battlefront for Next Season? SEC Staff Rejects Attempt to Exclude Proxy Access Shareholder Proposal). Chiu’s post captures the trajectory of proxy access amendment efforts. Continue Reading →
Tag Archives | H&R Block
Yesterday, several reporters asked me to comment on no-action requests and the SEC’s denial to Apple, as well as the Business Roundtable’s fanciful notions regarding the need for reform of the proxy proposal process. I am reluctant to give the Business Roundtable’s proposal, Modernizing the Shareholder Proposal Process, any more ink but will just touch on one of their issues here as I explain the Apple decision.
No-Action Requests: Apple and Proxy Access Lite
The SEC has consistently denied no-action requests to companies where the proponent asks for modifications to bylaws when the companies have made no modifications in the direction requested. See H&R Block and Microsoft as prior examples. Apple is no exception. This is nothing new. Continue Reading →
H & R Block Inc (NYSE:HRB, $HRB) provides tax preparation and banking services and is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their next annual meeting is September 8, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund when I checked and voted but Proxy Insight had many more. I voted in favor of my suggested proxy access amendments to current bylaws and with the Board’s recommendations 64% of the time. View Proxy Statement. Continue Reading →
Cam C. Hoang, a Partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP, warns that Staff denial of H&R Block Inc.’s request to exclude my proxy access proposal “discourages thoughtful, comprehensive discussions at the outset, since proponents may revisit the issues in subsequent years.” (SEC Denial of H&R Block’s Request to Exclude Proxy Access Proposal, The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation)
In the interest of “thoughtful discussions” on proxy access, I offer some additional points on Ms. Hoang’s post that I hope will be helpful to companies and shareholders alike. I’ll try to address them in the order Hoang raised them. Yes, I’ll be repeating her name frequently below, mostly so I can easily go back and find this post in the future, since I have so many posts on the basic subject of proxy access. Continue Reading →
There will be no rush to binding proxy access proposals, thanks to a July 21 denial of a no-action request filed by H&R Block. Corporations (HRB) continue with Wile E. Coyote type plots to derail genuine proxy access. See this incoming no-action request from Microsoft (MFST). However, in the case of H&R Block we foiled the latest plot to keep corporate governance a democratic-free zone without resorting to binding proxy access proposals. Continue Reading →
In response to proxy access proposals filed this year, both Whole Foods Market (WFM) and H&R Block (HRB) have adopted proxy access. While I had filed standard proposals seeking the ability of shareholders with 3% of shares held for 3 years to be able to nominate up to 25% of the board, both companies adopted bylaws allowing nominations only up to 20% and limiting nominating groups to 20, whereas my proposals had no such restrictions on the number of participants in nominating groups. Continue Reading →
The key provisions included in the Company’s proxy access bylaw provision are substantially consistent with the Proposal. Given that the purpose of the Proposal has been fulfilled, we request that you promptly withdraw the Proposal.
Should I withdrawal my proposal and declare victory? Let’s examine. Continue Reading →
My wife and I don’t have the resources to or stock holdings to allow us to file 75 proxy access shareholder proposals, like New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Boardroom Accountability Project. However, I have been writing about proxy access for 20 years and, together with Les Greenberg, filed the petition in 2002 with the SEC that many have credited with renewing interest in the subject. We hope our efforts, although small, contribute to making companies more democratic and profitable. Continue Reading →
H&R Block $HRB, which provides tax preparation and related services to the general public, is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their next annual meeting is September 11, 2014. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked and voted on 9/7/2014. I also checked the votes of OTPP and CalSTRS. All advance disclosers that I know of except CBIS voted in favor of all items. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 54% of the time and assigned them a proxy score of 54. View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the H&R Block proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value.
The influential proxy analyst, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), recommends voting against Kenneth Steiner’s proxy access proposal at H&R Block (HRB) on 9/13 because it “could undermine the efforts of larger, long-term shareholders whose interests might better reflect those of the broader shareholder base.” Their logic appears flawed. Larger, longer-term shareowners would gain rights, not lose them, under the proposal. CBIS changed their vote after reading this post and talking to me (see ProxyDemocracy.org). Will your fund do the same? Continue Reading →
H&R Block ($HRB) is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on 9/13/2012. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I voted on 9/5/2012. I voted with management 40% of the time but in complete alignment with CalSTRS.
I generally vote against pay packages where NEOs were paid above median in the previous Continue Reading →
After his victory at Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), Ackman claimed “Directors are sitting up more straight and reading board materials more carefully and questioning the CEO more intently. That is a very, very good thing.” Who can argue with that? But will better posture, thorough reading of thousands of pages of board materials and asking more questions be enough? I argue it would pay boards to get more frequent advice from shareowners and better analysis by proxy advisors. Continue Reading →
The cartoon at left accompanied an article entitled Where are the funds? (Pensions & Investments, 3/5/2012) P&I lamented, “instead of sitting on the sidelines, activist investors should take advantage of the opportunity to file access proposals… proxy access proponents must be adventurous.” We are going to use the key; adventure is on the way.
As I mentioned in my post 2012 Proxy Access Efforts (July 10), Ken Steiner’s proxy access proposals will be voted on at the Forest Labs (FRX) annual meeting, scheduled for August 15th and the Medtronic (MDT) meeting, scheduled for August 23rd. Word came last week; the SEC also refused to grant a no-action letter to H&R Block (HRB), so Steiner’s USPX designed proposal will also be voted on at their meeting on September 13th. Continue Reading →