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For previously presented views and plans of Glyn A. Holton, founder of the "Investor Suffrage Movement"and its associated "United States Proxy Exchange" who is reported below to be leading a protest against a "virtual" shareholder meeting, see:

For the webcast of the referenced Symantec shareholder meeting referenced in the article below, including a question beginning at minute 28:07 about the company's decision to conduct a purely "virtual" meeting and subsequent instructions for post-meeting questions, see:




Investors Object to Symantec's Virtual Annual Meeting


An investor advocacy group, the U.S. Proxy Exchange (USPX), is objecting to Symantec's plan to hold a virtual-only annual meeting on Sept. 20.

The Massachusetts-based group has organized a letter-writing campaign and is urging both retail and institutional investors to contact company officials. The group wants the California-based technology company instead to hold a hybrid meeting, where shareowners could attend in person or electronically.

"Symantec's share price has been in a steady decline since 2004. The company's executives are excessively compensated. The decision to hold a 'virtual' meeting gave the impression of embattled executives hiding behind technology," the group asserts.

Among the investors and groups that have written letters to Symantec are the Council of Institutional Investors, the California State Teachers' Retirement System, the First Affirmative Financial Network, SRI investors Harrington Investors and Clean Yield, U.K.-based Co-operative Asset Management, and retail activists John Chevedden and Jim McRitchie, according to Glyn Holton of USPX.

"On September 20, Symantec will set a precedent as the first large corporation to hold a virtual-only meeting. The shareowner community cannot be silent as we cross this Rubicon," Holton told ISS.

The group has organized the "Coalition to Preserve Shareowner Meetings" to bring together institutional and retail investors to discuss their concerns about virtual-only meetings. The group plans to hold a conference to develop safeguards for virtual-only meetings and said it would organize withhold campaigns against issuers that hold virtual-only meetings without safeguards.

Shareholder activists have become increasingly concerned that more companies are considering holding online-only meetings. So far, 13 U.S. companies have held virtual-only annual meetings, according to Broadridge Financial, which has developed software to help issuers conduct such meetings.

Companies point out that most shareholder meetings attract few investors and are costly to hold, and that online meetings can allow more shareholders to participate. Issuers also say that most analysts and institutions no longer attend annual meetings in person.  

Walden Asset Management filed a shareholder proposal at Intel after the chipmaker said it would hold a virtual meeting this year. Walden withdrew that proposal after the company agreed to continue hybrid meetings. Walden, along with Jim Epstein of EFO Capital Management, recently withdrew a similar proposal at Procter & Gamble after the consumer products giant agreed to refrain from holding an electronic-only meeting for five years.

"[W]e do not believe that Internet-only meetings should be substituted for traditional in-person annual meetings. . . . We believe the tradition of in-person annual meetings plays an important role in holding management accountable to stockholders," the shareholders argued in their proposal at P&G. "While some corporations argue that eliminating the face-to-face annual meeting is a way to reduce costs and improve efficiency, we believe the investment in creating a physical space for shareholder meeting is money well spent."




This Forum program is open, free of charge, to anyone concerned with investor interests in the development of standards for conducting shareholder meetings with electronic participation. As stated in the posted Conditions of Participation, the Forum's purpose is to provide decision-makers with access to information and a free exchange of views on the issues presented in the program's Forum Summary. Each participant is expected to make independent use of information obtained through the Forum, subject to the privacy rights of other participants.  It is a Forum rule that participants will not be identified or quoted without their explicit permission.

The organization of this Forum program was encouraged by Walden Asset Management, and is proceeding with the invited leadership support of Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. and Intel Corporation to address issues relevant to broad public interests in marketplace practices, rather than investor decisions relating to only a single company. The Forum may therefore invite program support of several companies that can provide both expertise and examples of leadership relating to the issues being addressed.

Inquiries about this Forum program and requests to be included in its distribution list may be addressed to

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.