Electronic Participation in Shareholder
Inviting Comments on Practices for
Reporting Shareholder Questions
Responding to the interest of many Forum participants in means of assuring
fair reporting of questions and comments submitted by shareholders, as
expressed during last week’s
open Forum meeting and in the “Focus
Report” of Friday’s E-Meetings Review, two examples of possible
practices have been suggested for your consideration and comment.
It should be emphasized that these examples are being presented for each
Forum participant’s independent judgment of fairness, in an exchange of
views that should serve as a practical test of the standards that we are
in the process of defining.
It is not the Forum’s intention to seek endorsement of these examples as
“best practices.” Our objective is instead to support investor interests
in broad marketplace testing of what actually works, with each company
developing its own practices in competition for investor support.
Both of the following examples should be considered for possible use in
any kind of information exchange process, including a shareholder meeting
but possibly also a pre-meeting webcast like those conducted for quarterly
earnings reports. In this context, references to a “meeting” in these
summaries are meant to include the full range of processes in which people
convene to communicate.
Presenting all questions for selection by polling during a break
To respect the rights of all meeting participants to present their own
views and hear others without distractions, Tracey Rembert of Pax World
Management has suggested accumulating all question submissions for
reporting and polling during a meeting break. In this suggested practice,
every meeting participant’s question, whether from someone participating
in-person or by webcast, could be seen and considered by all participants,
and the electronic polling would allow all participants to contribute to
the prioritizing of the questions for management response.
Reporting all post-meeting submissions of unresolved issues
Addressing widespread interest in unfiltered observation of all questions
and comments offered by shareholders, a suggestion was developed in
discussions among several Forum participants to invite all meeting
participants to make post-meeting submissions of any unanswered questions
for public presentation. This, like the example above, would avoid
distraction during the meeting, and would allow open reporting of
submissions without subjecting the company to burdens of publishing
These examples have been presented without important details, such as how
polling results would be considered or whether anonymous submissions would
be allowed, assuming that a wide range of variations should be considered
both in your review and in any real application.
Following past Forum practices, your comments will be welcomed for
reporting to Forum participants either with or without identification of
the source, or simply for private discussion.
GL – July 22, 2010
Chairman, The Shareholder Forum
c/o Lutin & Company
575 Madison Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, New York 10022