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.

 

For other reports relating to shareholder communications and SEC regulations, see

 

Investor Relations Magazine, January 14, 2009 article

 

Broadridge competitor slashes fees

Jan 14, 2009

Mediant clients to pay 25 percent less for proxy processing

Mediant Communications is continuing its challenge to Broadridge Financial Solutions’ near lock on the business of distributing proxy materials to beneficial shareholders. Two months ago the firm landed its first broker client, Legent Clearing, and today it announced it would lower proxy processing fees for ‘several hundred’ issuers with shares held through that broker.

The NYSE reviews the fees that Broadridge, acting on behalf of brokers, may charge listed companies for this work. The basic processing fee is 40 cents per beneficial account, and Mediant has announced a 25 percent discount.

‘Fees as set by the NYSE are considered high,’ says Arthur Rosenzweig, Mediant’s president. ‘We believe fees should come down, so we’ve decided to go lower unilaterally for issuer clients.’

Rosenzweig says he would like to see the end of an era where fees are ‘dictated’ by regulators, and are instead negotiated by issuers and their brokers or intermediaries. ‘Now that there is competition, there is no need for there to be any regulation of fees,’ he adds.

Mediant shared the news of the discount with issuers in the weeks leading up to the public announcement. ‘We’ve spoken to issuer clients and they are extremely pleased,’ Rosenzweig says.

Jeffrey Morgan, president and CEO of NIRI, notes the development. ‘I believe the entry of new service providers into the marketplace, providing choice and competition, is a positive event for customers or, in this case, issuers,’ he says.

Morgan and his counterparts at
Business Roundtable, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Securities Transfer Association and the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals have raised questions about the lack of competition in proxy services amid a fresh campaign for broader proxy reform.

The groups, comprising the
Shareholder Communications Coalition, published a position paper last fall outlining their views of the faults of the current system and urging the SEC to undertake a comprehensive review. ‘Technology and the markets have developed a great deal in the past two-plus decades, and I am hopeful the SEC will look seriously at the internal structure or ‘plumbing’ of the proxy process and the overall ability for issuers to communicate with their shareholders,’ Morgan says.

By
Anna Snider

 

 

 

 

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.