Press Release: ASA Urges SEC to Protect Retail Investors, Reform Broken Shareholder Proposal Process

WASHINGTON – The American Securities Association (ASA) today released a series of recommendations to reform the proxy proposal process in a way that increases accountability and transparency at the proxy advisory firms and protects the interests of America’s retail investors.

“ASA strongly supports the rights of shareholders to have their voices heard and hold companies accountable,” said ASA CEO Chris Iacovella. “But for far too long the proxy advisory megafirms have exploited Main Street investors by prioritizing a conflict-ridden political agenda over the retirement security of millions of Americans. Today is an important first step to bring much-needed reforms to the proxy process and we look forward to working with the SEC to get this right.”

As the SEC meets today to discuss shareholder proposals and proxy advisors, ASA calls on the Commission to, at a minimum:

  • Subject the voting reports proxy advisory firms produce to the anti-fraud provisions of the proxy solicitation rules;
  • Explore whether these firms should be registered as investment advisors subjecting the accuracy of the facts in their voting recommendations to increased scrutiny;
  • Prohibit proxy advisors from offering rating and consulting services to issuers on any matter that they are also being paid by an investor to provide a voting recommendation on (there is no way to manage this conflict); and
  • Update the resubmission thresholds for shareholder proposals that lose by wide margins.

Earlier this week, ASA CEO Iacovella penned an op-ed in The Hill urging fund managers to stop playing politics with the American people’s retirement savings. To read the full op-ed, click here

 

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ASA’s regional financial services companies work in communities across the country to create jobs, grow the economy, and increase prosperity for all Americans. The ASA exclusively represents the capital market and private client interests of its members and seeks to promote free market principles making it easier to access financial advice and capital. ASA members help Americans save for retirement, provide Main Street businesses with capital to grow, and advise hardworking Americans how to create and preserve wealth. For the latest updates follow @AmerSecurities and learn more at http://americansecurities.org/.