The Shareholder Forum

supporting investor access

for the informed use of capital to produce goods and services

 

The Shareholder Forum

Purpose

The Shareholder Forum provides all decision-makers – from the ultimate owners of capital to the corporate managers who use their capital, and all of the professionals in between – with reliably effective access to the information and views participants consider relevant to their respective responsibilities for the common objective of using capital to produce goods and services.

Access Policies

To provide the required investor access without regulatory constraints, the Forum developed policies and practices allowing it to function as an SEC-defined independent moderator. We also adopted well-established publishing standards to assure essential participant privacy and communication rights.

These carefully defined and thoroughly tested Forum policies are the foundation of our unique marketplace resource for clearly fair access to information and exchanges of views.

History

We have been doing this for more than two decades. The Forum programs were initiated in 1999 by the CFA Society New York (at the time known as 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 the Society’s members.

Independently supported by Mr. Lutin since 2001, the Forum’s public programs – often in collaboration with the CFA Society as well as with other educational institutions such as the Columbia Schools of Business and Journalism, the Yale School of Management and The Conference Board – have achieved wide recognition for their effective definition of both company-specific and marketplace issues, followed by an 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.

Commitment

The Forum welcomes suggestions for its continuing support of fair access to the information needed by both shareholders and corporate managers.

Responding to the recent increases in investor engagement and activism, we have established a strong policy commitment to supporting corporate managers who wish to provide the leadership expected of them by assuring orderly reviews of issues. We will of course also continue to welcome the initiation of company-specific programs by shareholders concerned with the use of their capital to produce goods and services, and we naturally remain committed to addressing general marketplace interests in collaboration with educational institutions and publishers.

 

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 had been offering for several years with the “Shareholder Forum” name, and we have asked Broadridge to use a different name that does not suggest our support or endorsement.