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.

 

Corporate Secretary, March 9, 2010 article

 

Crossbow logo People on the street

Prudential offers gifts to boost proxy vote

Mar 09, 2010

Eco-friendly gifts to encourage shareholder voting and promote CSR

It used to be that buying stock was like a free gift with purchase. Whether it was a box of chewing gum from Wrigley’s or discounts on a Carnival cruise line, it was good to be an investor. At many companies the glory days of shareholder perks are over, but for some of Prudential Financial’s investors, those days may be making a comeback.

Like many companies this proxy season, the insurance giant is on a mission to increase shareholder participation. ‘We all have to figure out why shareholders are not voting and what we can do,’ says Peggy Foran, Prudential’s chief governance officer and corporate secretary. ‘You can create all the websites in the world, but if you cannot engage people, you cannot communicate with them,’ she adds. 

Prudential’s new, experimental method of engagement: free gift with vote. Those who cast a vote at the upcoming annual meeting will receive their choice of an eco-friendly tote bag or a tree planted on their behalf. These environmentally friendly gifts also serve to address the campaign’s dual purpose of promoting Prudential’s CSR program. ‘It is something we are very proud of,’ says Foran, ‘and from a financial services company, some people may not know the type of work we have done.’

For now, the offer applies only to registered shareholders, but if the experiment proves successful, Foran hopes to expand the program to include retail investors. ‘I am hoping that, assuming this works, this is something the SEC would allow in a notice statement,’ she says.

Regardless of how the experiment turns out, the cost, says Foran, ‘is actually one of the less expensive ways of reminding shareholders to vote and it is far cheaper than having a proxy solicitor interrupt them at dinner.’ We will know the results after the shareholder meeting, but really, who doesn’t like free stuff?

By Katie Feuer
 

 

 

 

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.