2014 First Edition Now Online
Increased shareholder activism, decreased support for smaller company directors and increased retail investor ownership of public companies are some of the key findings of the 2014 first edition of ProxyPulse™, the joint publication from Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. and PwC’s Center for Board Governance.
This edition of ProxyPulse contains key trends from the 2013 fall “mini-season” covering the 1,066 shareholder meetings held between July 1 and December 31, 2013, as well as perspectives on early developments for the 2014 spring proxy season.
Highlights of this edition include:
- While overall director support was strong, there was significantly less support for directors of small- and micro-cap companies during the 2013 fall mini-season. Additionally, in all company size segments there were increases in the percentage of directors whose support fell from over 90% of shares cast in favor the prior year -- into the 70-89% range this past mini-season.
- Retail share ownership, at 44% of all street shares, was substantially greater in the 2013 fall mini-season than it was for companies that had meetings last spring. But the percentage of retail shares voted fell from 29% in the 2012 mini-season to 27% in the 2013 mini-season.
- Retail shareholders received their proxy materials in a variety of ways and used a more diverse mix of voting methods than institutional investors. For 42% of retail shares, investors received proxy materials electronically and for 20% of retail shares, investors received materials through a mailed notice (compared to 36% and 21%, respectively, in the same period in 2012). In addition, for 38% of retail shares, investors were mailed a full paper package – a decrease of 5 percentage points from the same period in 2012.
- Shareholder activism is rising. Activist investors are stepping up their activity levels and the number of exempt solicitations (e.g., “Vote No” letters) increased 69% between calendar year 2012 and 2013. Their approaches are varied and the demands include selling off business units, issuing special dividends and board representation.
ProxyPulse is the product of collaboration between Broadridge, the leading provider of investor communication solutions for financial services firms, mutual funds and corporate issuers globally, and PwC's Center for Board Governance, a group within PwC whose mission is to help directors effectively meet the challenges of their critical roles.
The analysis is based upon Broadridge's processing of shares held in street name, which accounts for over 80% of all shares outstanding of publicly listed companies in the U.S.