Tag Archives | written consent

Chevedden Group Proxy Proposals

For years, the “Chevedden group” (Chevedden, McRitchie/Young and Steiner) has focused almost exclusively on governance proposals. More democratic corporations are likely to listen to their shareholders on other issues as well.  Democracies facilitate voice and the exchange of ideas. Fighting for environmental and social issues, while extremely important, felt like addressing symptoms, rather than root causes.

Chevedden group proposals seek to declassify boards, require majority votes to elect directors, allow proxy access, and allow shareholders to call special meetings. Since many large cap companies have now adopted such provisions, we are broadening our scope to also focus on other issues. Below are some preliminary results for 2018. Continue Reading →

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Netflix Approach to Governance: One-Sided

Netflix Approach to Governance: Genuine Transparency with the Board (download) by David F. Larcker and Brian Tayan takes a look at one aspect of corporate governance at Netflix and finds “a radically different approach to information sharing” by management with the Board. Shareholders are largely left out of the equation.

Netflix Approach to Governance: Management

Netflix Approach to Governance has the appearance of a balanced look at how management shares information with the Board. There is no suggestion the approach can be widely copied. Says Larker,

I think it would be hard to put this type of system in place at older and more mature organizations. Innovative organizations that want and need the insights from board members can clearly adapt this type of approach. You need a CEO who wants a high level of discussion about strategy, etc., and is open to alternative points of view.

Transparency works at Netflix, at least in part, because CEO Reed Hastings understands board members would not have the confidence to make tough calls unless they have a better understanding of the company.

Transparency is hard to argue against, unless it leads to directors leaking information that reaches competitors. Larcker and Tayan interviewed CEO Reed Hastings and most of the board members. They describe two key features of what they appear to believe is remmanagement transparency.

Board members attend monthly and quarterly senior management meetings as observers. Communications to the board take the shape of approximately 30-page memos that are heavy on analysis and contain links to all relevant data on the company’s internal computer systems. (Another Netflix Disruption: A Transparent Board)

More frequent meetings with senior staff and more information allows Netflix directors to work more effectively, since they are better able to assess strategic developments. It is hard to tell what impact transparency is having on the company but,

Netflix has been enormously successful over the last five years. Revenues have nearly tripled, increasing to $11.69 billion from $4.4 billion at the end of 2013, while the market cap soared to $133 billion from $4.4 billion.

Directors like the approach.

The overall tone Reed has set, really from early days, is around transparency. … There is no editorializing. There’s no censorship.

It’s just a deep desire to hear rational, well-argued pros and cons of any decision.

No censorship and frank discussions between management and board; if other companies are not operating that way, why not? Equally important, why does that approach not carry through to the relationship between shareholders and the board?

Netflix Approach to Governance: Shareholders

Their research, part of the informative Stanford Closer Look Series, begins with the following sentence:

The hallmark of good corporate governance is an independent-minded board of directors to oversee management and represent the interests of shareholders.

The only other significant reference to shareholders comes later in the following sentence:

While fiduciary rules allow directors to rely exclusively on information provided by management, dynamics such as these can reduce the quality of that information and impair their ability to make good decisions on behalf of shareholders.

Even through the law allows directors to rely on what the CEO and other senior executives tell them, directors make better decisions when the company is more transparent – when they can observe meetings further down the chain and have more direct access to company relevant data. Yet, the Netflix approach to governance appears one-sided. Transparency and dialogue are missing when it comes to management and shareholders.

As I pointed out in a recent post, Netflix has repeatedly ignored shareholder votes. (Will Netflix Ignore Stockholders Again?) While proxy proposals are generally precatory, most companies implement those receiving a majority vote and often those that do not. The Netflix approach to governance appears to ignore proxy votes whenever legally possible.

  • In 2014 a majority voted to declassify the board and to require a majority vote to elect directors.
  • In 2015 similar proposals were voted and won.  A majority of shareholders also voted against director Barton, who, although he lost, was up for reelection this year.
  • In 2016 a majority of shares were voted in favor of proxy access, reducing supermajority vote requirements, and declassifying the board.
  • In 2017 a majority of shares were voted in favor of proxy access, to declassify the board, to require a majority vote for electing directors and to eliminate all supermajority voting requirements. As far as I know, none of those proposals were implemented by the Board.
  • In 2018 a majority of shares were voted in favor of the following:
    • Reduce Ownership Threshold for Shareholders to Call Special Meeting (57%)
    • Adopt Proxy Access Right (58%)
    • Provide Right to Act by Written Consent (52%)
    • Adopt Simple Majority Vote (85%)
    • Amend Bylaws (72%) This was a binding proposal to require directors in uncontested elections to be elected by a majority of shares voted

Given the Netflix approach to governance with regard to shareholders, I expect the only proposal that will be adopted from this year is the binding proposal to require a majority vote in uncontested directors elections. The vote in favor surpassed the bylaw requirement of a two-thirds threshold.

Although I do not question the scholarship of Larcker and Tayan, their discussion of the Netflix approach to governance would benefit from an examination of shareholder relations with the board. We hope that is on their agenda for a closer look

Netflix Approach to Governance: Other Views

   

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Netflix 2018 Proxy: Shareholders Still Pushing Basic Rights

Netflix 2018 annual meeting is June 6, 2018. Vote FOR all of the shareholder proposals to enhance long-term value. The Board keeps ignoring our votes. We need to keep reminding them we want the normal shareholders rights.

Netflix (NFLX), an Internet television network, engages in the Internet delivery of television (TV) shows and movies on various Internet-connected screens. Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 70+ pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference your vote will make. Below, I tell you how I am voting and why. If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years, have values aligned with mine, and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read it), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two and every vote counts.

I voted with the Board’s recommendations 25% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Genomic Health 2018: Will Baker Bros Vote Proxy Access?

Genomic Health 2018 annual meeting is June 6. Will 40% owner Baker Brothers Advisors LP allow proxy access? Genomic Health (GHDX) provides actionable genomic information to personalize cancer treatment decisions worldwide. If Baker Brothers eventually hopes to sell its shares into the market, they would do well to vote for proxy access. Other shareholders will pay a premium for shares of a company with proxy access and other corporate governance provisions that enhance board accountability.

Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 20+ pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference your vote will make, especially when one shareholder has such control. Below, I tell you how I am voting and why.

If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years, have values aligned with mine, and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read it), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two and every vote counts.

I voted with the Board’s recommendations 25% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Tesla 2018 Proxy Decisions Crucial

Tesla 2018 annual meeting is June 5, 2018. Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) designs, develops, manufactures, and sells electric vehicles, and energy generation and storage systems in the United States and internationally. If Tesla is to survive and thrive, it needs a more independent board. The vote of shareholders will be crucial in deciding Tesla’s future.

Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 50+ pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference their vote will make. I have done the work for you.

Below, I tell you how I am voting and why. If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years, have values aligned with mine, and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read most of the post), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two. Every vote does count. I voted against the Board’s recommendations 100% of the time on the Tesla 2018 proxy. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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NEE Nextera Energy Proxy Recommendations

NEE Nextera Energy. through its subsidiaries, generates, transmits, distributes, and sells electric power to retail and wholesale customers in North America. Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 100+ pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference your vote will make. Below, I tell you how I am voting and why.

If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years, have values aligned with mine, and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read it), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two and every vote counts.

The annual meeting is coming up on May 24, 2018. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 44% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Chipotle Mexican Grill Proxy Guide

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG), together with its subsidiaries, operates Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants. As of December 31, 2017, it operated 2,363 Chipotle restaurants throughout the United States, as well as 37 international Chipotle restaurants; and 8 non-Chipotle restaurants. Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 70+ pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference your vote will make.

Below, I tell you how I am voting and why. If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years, have values aligned with mine, and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read it), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two and every vote counts. The annual meeting is coming up on May 22, 2018. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 38% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Intel Proxy Voting Recommendations

Intel Corporation (INTC), designs, manufactures, and sells computer, networking, data storage, and communication platforms worldwide. Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 100+ pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference your vote will make. Below, I tell you how I am voting and why. If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years, have values aligned with mine, and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read it), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two and every vote counts. The annual meeting is coming up on May 17, 2018. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 53% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Gilead Sciences Proxy Voting Guide

Gilead Sciences (GILD), a biopharmaceutical company, discovers, develops, and commercializes therapeutics in the areas of unmet medical needs in the United States, Europe, and internationally. Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 80+ pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference your vote will make. Below, I tell you how I voted and why. If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read my rationale), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two and every vote counts.

The annual meeting is coming up on May 9 2018. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 61% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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3M Company Proxy Voting Guide

3M Company (MMM) operates as a diversified technology company worldwide. Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 80+ pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference your vote will make. Below, I tell you how I voted and why. If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read my rationale), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two and every vote counts.

The annual meeting is coming up on May 8, 2018. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 44% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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AXP 2018 Proxy Voting Guide

AXP (American Express), together with its subsidiaries, provides charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services to consumers and businesses worldwide.  Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 100+ pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference your vote will make. Below, I tell you how I am voting and why. If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read it), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two and every vote counts.

The annual meeting is coming up on May 7, 2018. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 47% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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AT&T Inc Proxy Voting Recommendation

AT&T Inc (T) provides communications and digital entertainment services. The company operates through four segments: Business Solutions, Entertainment Group, Consumer Mobility, and International. Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 70 pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference your vote will make. Below, I tell you how I am voting and why. If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read it), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two and every vote counts.

The annual meeting is coming up on April 27, 2018. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 35% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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General Electric Proxy Voting Recommendation

General Electric Company (GE), operates as a digital industrial company worldwide. It operates through Power, Renewable Energy, Oil & Gas, Aviation, Healthcare, Transportation, Lighting, and Capital segments. Most shareholders do not vote because reading through 70 pages of the proxy is not worth the time for the small difference your vote will make. Below, I tell you how I am voting and why. If you have read these posts related to my portfolio for the last 22 years and trust my judgment (or you don’t want to take the time to read it), go immediately to see how I voted my ballot. Voting will take you only a minute or two and every vote counts.

The annual meeting is coming up on April 25, 2018. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 48% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Cognizant Technology Solutions Proxy Voting Guide

Cognizant Technology Solutions Proxy Voting Guide

Cognizant Technology Solutions Proxy Voting Guide

Cognizant Technology Solutions Proxy Voting Guide by James McRitchie of CorpGov.net. Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (CTSH) provides information technology (IT), operations and technology consulting, infrastructure, and business process services worldwide. The firm is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 6, 2017

I voted FOR James McRitchie’s shareholder proposal to provide a shareholder’s right to act by written consent. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 76% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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PayPal Proxy Voting Guide

PayPal Proxy Voting GuidePayPal Proxy Voting Guide by CorpGov.net. PayPal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL) operates as a technology platform company that enables digital and mobile payments on behalf of consumers and merchants worldwide. PayPal is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 24, 2017.PayPal

I voted FOR #5 Provide Right to Act by Written Consent and two shareholder proposals seeking reports. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 40% of the time. View proxy via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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Gilead Sciences Proxy Voting Guide

Gilead Sciences Proxy Voting Guide by McRitchie

Gilead Sciences Proxy Voting Guide by James McRitchie. Graphic by Gilead.

Gilead Sciences Proxy Voting Guide by James McRitchie. Gilead Sciences, Inc., a research-based biopharmaceutical company, discovers, develops, and commercializes medicines in the areas of unmet medical needs in Europe, North America, Asia, South America, Africa, Australia, India, and the Middle East. Gilead $GLD is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four fund families when I checked and voted. The annual meeting is May 10, 2017, so vote NOW! If you have already voted, you can change your vote online until May 9.

I voted FOR Written Consent and requiring an Independent Chairman. See how and why I voted these and other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 47% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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American Express Proxy Voting Guide

American Express Proxy Voting Guide

American Express Proxy Voting Guide

American Express Proxy Voting Guide.  American Express Company (AXP), together with its subsidiaries, provides charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services to consumers and businesses worldwide. It operates through four segments: U.S. Consumer Services, International Consumer and Network Services, Global Commercial Services, and Global Merchant Services. American Express is one of the stocks in my portfolio. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three fund families when I checked and voted. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 1, 2017

American ExpressI voted FOR Written Consent and Gender Pay Equity. See how and why I voted other items below. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 63% of the time. View Proxy Statement via SEC’s EDGAR system (look for DEF 14A). Continue Reading →

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DaVita HealthCare – Written Consent

DaVita HealthCareDaVita HealthCare Partners Inc (NYSE:DVA), one of the companies in my portfolio, provides kidney dialysis services for patients suffering from chronic kidney failure or end stage renal disease. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 20, 2016. I have a proposal on the proxy to allow shareholders to act by written consent.

ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three fund families when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, committee, and proxy access ‘lite’; FOR the right to act by written consent. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 53% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom.

Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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Cognizant Technology – Written Consent

Cognizant TechnologyCognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (CTSH) provides information technology (IT), consulting, and business process services worldwide. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 15, 2016.

ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three fund families when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, committee; FOR proposal to allow written consent. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 57% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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Netflix Inc: Proxy Score 0

Netflix Inc

Netflix Inc

Netflix Inc $NFLX., one of the stocks in my portfolio, an Internet television network, which engages in the Internet delivery of television (TV) shows and movies on various Internet-connected screens. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 9, 2016.

ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of one fund family when I checked. Vote AGAINST directors, pay, auditor; FOR all shareholder proposals. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 0% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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Caterpillar Inc: Proxy Score 50

Caterpillar Inc

Caterpillar Inc

Caterpillar Inc $CAT is a manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. Their annual meeting is coming up on June 8, 2016.

ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two fund families when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, committee, auditor; FOR all shareholder proposals – lobbying report, written consent, independent chairman. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 71% of the time. View Proxy Statement via iiWisdom. Continue Reading →

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Ford Motor: Proxy Score 53

Ford Motor CompanyFord Motor Company (NYSE:F, $F) manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 12, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, compensation committee, poison pill; FOR shareholder proposals to transition out of dual class shares and to lower the threshold to call a special meeting. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 58% of the time. View Proxy Statement. Continue Reading →

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Gilead Sciences, Inc: Proxy Score 46

gilead-sciences-inc-gild

Graphic from Bidnessetc.com

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASD:GILD, $GILD) is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative medicines. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 11,2016.  ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, compensation committee, bonus plan. FOR proposal to allow shareholder action by written consent. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 46% of the time. View Proxy Statement.

Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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American Express Company: Proxy Score 38

American Express CompanyAmerican Express Company (NYSE:AXP, $AXP) provides charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services to consumers and businesses worldwide. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on May 2, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of three funds when I checked. Vote AGAINST pay, committee, incentive plan, overboarded director. FOR all other items in the proxy, including shareholder proposals. I voted with the Board’s recommendations 88% of the time. View Proxy Statement.

Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the proxy in order to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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International Business Machines: Proxy Score 21

International Business MachinesInternational Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM, $IBM) provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. It is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is coming up on April 26, 2016. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of four funds when I checked. I voted AGAINST the pay plan, and most of the directors. I voted FOR the report on lobbying, written consent, split CEO/Board Chair positions – voting with the Board’s recommendations 21% of the time. View Proxy Statement.

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Clorox: How I Voted – Proxy Score 100

cloroxThe Clorox Company (CLX) manufactures and markets consumer and professional products worldwide. The company operates through four segments: Cleaning, Household, Lifestyle, and International. Clorox is one of the stocks in my portfolio. Their annual meeting is on November 18, 2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had collected the votes of two funds when I checked. I voted with the Board’sProxyDemocracy.org recommendations 100% of the time. View Proxy StatementContinue Reading →

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Twitter Inc: Proxy Score 50

TwitterTwitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), one of the stocks in my portfolio, operates as a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time. Their annual meeting is coming up on 6/3/2015. ProxyDemocracy.org had the votes of one fund when I checked on 5/19/2015. I voted with Board recommendations 50% of the time.

View Proxy Statement. Read Warnings below. What follows are my recommendations on how to vote the Twitter Inc 2015 proxy to enhance corporate governance and long-term value. Continue Reading →

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