The Shareholder Forum

supporting investor interests in long term enterprise value

 

Purpose & History of Services

The Shareholder Forum

The Shareholder Forum supports investor interests in corporate enterprise value with services that require independence – and that may benefit from the Forum’s network resources and recognition for advocacy of long term investor interests – to assure a definition of relevant issues and fair access to information that can be relied upon by both corporate and investor decision-makers.

The policies that provide a foundation for the Forum’s marketplace functions have been carefully developed and tested to allow any investor to participate in its communications, either anonymously or visibly, without acting in concert. Established originally to accommodate professional fund managers, this independent moderator function has proved to be consistently effective in managing orderly processes of issue definition for rational analysis by fiduciaries who are responsible for informed decisions.

Initiated in 1999 by the New York Society of Security Analysts with lead investor and former corporate investment banker Gary Lutin as guest chairman to address the professional interests of its members, and independently supported by Mr. Lutin since 2001, Forum programs have achieved wide recognition for their effective definition of important issues and orderly exchange of the information and views needed to resolve them. The Forum's ability to convene all key decision-making constituencies and influence leaders has been applied to subjects ranging from corporate control contests to the establishment of consensus marketplace standards for fair disclosure, and has been relied upon by virtually every major U.S. fund manager and the many other investors who have participated in programs that addressed their interests.

Currently important applications of the Forum’s independent position include the support of corporate managers who wish to provide the leadership expected of them by responding to activist challenges with orderly reviews of issues relevant to long term investor interests.

Requests for Shareholder Forum consideration of support may be initiated confidentially by any investor or by the subject company, or by the professional advisors to either.

 

A copy of the Broadridge report summarized below, as well as a subsequently released report on the subject, can be downloaded from the following links:

For reports and legal views relating to other SEC rules for shareholder communications, see

 

Investor Relations Magazine, February 15, 2008 article

 

 

 

Broadridge gets clients to open up about e-proxy experience

Feb 15, 2008

Microsoft among companies giving positive review 

NEW YORK -- Among the early adopters of e-proxies are Microsoft, Sara Lee and Pharmos, and this week they have shared their impressions in an interesting Q&A posted on the Broadridge Financial Solutions website.

IROs and corporate counsel in each of the companies, under questioning by Chuck Callan, SVP for corporate affairs at Broadridge, describe a generally positive experience in moving to internet distribution of proxy materials, detailing big cost savings, few glitches and minor impact on meeting outcomes.

In the six months 'notice and access' was available for use, only 69 companies decided to use it in the run-up to their shareholder meetings, representing less than 10 percent of all issuers eligible, Broadridge reports. More are following, but many companies are taking a 'wait and see' approach because of all the uncertainties surrounding cost, preparation time and shareholder receptivity to this new shareholder communication option.

All three companies said they were prompted by cost savings and environmental concerns. Sara Lee and Pharmos say they saved $268,000 and $130,000, respectively, by moving to e-proxy. Microsoft IRO Dennie Kimbrough says her company had an additional motivation: 'We wanted to be able to drive people to the internet and use technology in this process.'

Pharmos corporate development director Gale Smith says her biggest concern was getting the proxy finalized within the earlier deadlines set by the SEC. Companies are finding they lose about seven to ten days of prep time in order to mail the notice 40 days in advance of the annual meeting. In the Q&A, Microsoft raises the idea of trying to get the SEC to give back five days on the timeline.

The respondents also say the SEC rules surrounding the writing the actual notice are too restrictive and suggest design improvements.

The full paper, 'A frank discussion on notice & access: A good start and a promising future,' will be available at www.broadridge.com on Tuesday. Go to 'investor communications solutions,' then tab for 'corporations' and 'notice and access.'

By Anna Snider
  

© copyright 2008 Cross Border Ltd

 

 

 

Inquiries, requests to be included in email distribution lists, and suggestions of new Forum subjects may be addressed to inquiry@shareholderforum.com.

Publicly open programs of the Shareholder Forum are conducted for free participation of all shareholders of a subject company and any fiduciaries or professionals concerned with their decisions, according to the Forum’s stated "Conditions of Participation." In all cases, each participant is expected to make independent use of information obtained through the Forum, and participation is considered private unless the party specifically authorizes identification.

The information provided to Forum participants is intended for their private reference, and permission has not been granted for the republishing of any copyrighted material. The material presented on this web site is the responsibility of Gary Lutin, as chairman of the Shareholder Forum.

Shareholder Forum™ is a trademark owned by The Shareholder Forum, Inc., for the programs conducted since 1999 to support investor access to decision-making information. It should be noted that we have no responsibility for the services that Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., introduced for review in the Forum's 2010 "E-Meetings" program and has since been offering with the “Shareholder Forum” name, and we have asked Broadridge to use a different name that does not suggest our support or endorsement.