The Shareholder Forum

supporting investor interests in long term enterprise value

 

Purpose & History of Services

The Shareholder Forum

The Shareholder Forum supports investor interests in corporate enterprise value with services that require independence – and that may benefit from the Forum’s network resources and recognition for advocacy of long term investor interests – to assure a definition of relevant issues and fair access to information that can be relied upon by both corporate and investor decision-makers.

The policies that provide a foundation for the Forum’s marketplace functions have been carefully developed and tested to allow any investor to participate in its communications, either anonymously or visibly, without acting in concert. Established originally to accommodate professional fund managers, this independent moderator function has proved to be consistently effective in managing orderly processes of issue definition for rational analysis by fiduciaries who are responsible for informed decisions.

Initiated in 1999 by 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 its members, and independently supported by Mr. Lutin since 2001, Forum programs have achieved wide recognition for their effective definition of important issues and 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.

Currently important applications of the Forum’s independent position include the support of corporate managers who wish to provide the leadership expected of them by responding to activist challenges with orderly reviews of issues relevant to long term investor interests.

Requests for Shareholder Forum consideration of support may be initiated confidentially by any investor or by the subject company, or by the professional advisors to either.

 

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