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.

 

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 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.