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Forum participants are encouraged to comment on the Broadridge advocacy of regulatory support for their "Investor Network" version of a "shareholder forum," reported below and in a previous article. Views based on experience from the past eleven years of Shareholder Forum programs will be useful to the SEC, as well as to the Forum itself, in considering how any "shareholder forum" can most effectively serve investor interests.

[The Forum subsequently submitted its responsive comments to the SEC.]

For the Broadridge statements on which both the new and previous articles are based, see:

Note: Broadridge was one of the companies that provided invited leadership support of the Shareholder Forum's public interest program to develop standards for electronic communications relating to shareholder meetings.


Securities Technology Monitor, December 8, 2010 article


Broadridge to SEC: Mandate Use of Social Media

December 8, 2010
Chris Kentouris

Broadridge Financial Solutions, the largest world’s largest proxy distribution and voting firm, has called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to require public firms to use social media technology to communicate with their shareholders.

“Some believe we can wait and see,” said Richard Daly, Broadridge’s chief executive in a speech at a conference held by Hofstra University’s Frank Zarb School of Business on December 1. “They believe these developments, if they have merit, will take hold by themselves. But the truth is that changing the paradigm rapidly for all investors will require regulatory support.”

Citing statistics that retail voting declined from 20 per cent four years ago to less than five per cent in 2010, Daly said, “Reduced participation in key governance issues is coming at a time when the need for two-way communication with shareholders is dramatically increasing.”

Daly’s comments come amidst the Securities and Exchange Commission’s attempt to raise retail participation in shareholder meetings and reform so-called proxy plumbing.

According to Daly, the technology underpinning social media can provide knowledge transfer, voting participation opportunities, and transparency between shareholders, boards, management, and regulators at levels that could prevent many of the financial mishaps over the past decade.

“A true Investor social network could both prevent these mishaps and raise investor confidence,” he said.

Broadridge has a vested economic interest in promoting electronic social forums. After January 2008, when the SEC adopted new rules under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to ”facilitate the use of electronic shareholder forums by public companies and their shareholders, Broadridge developed its proprietary Investor Network.

The firm defines its service, launched in October 2008, as an “online community where investors and corporations come together to share information, ideas and perspectives.”

Daly and other Broadridge officials were unavailable for further comment about the speech or further details on the Investor Network. Therefore, it cannot be determined just how many US companies have used the Investor Network or what fee Broadridge charges.

Broadridge acknowledges that investors must remain anonymous and Broadridge does validate who they are online.

Here is how Investor Network service works: While anyone can view information on the site, to contribute their viewpoints investors must provide their online account ID and password they use to access their brokerage account.

They must also agree to a detailed disclaimer. Once verified as investors, each shareholder is given his or her own page under a pseudonym showing which companies’ stocks they hold in their portfolio, along with an indication of how many shares they own. They can then post comments in discussions about those companies, as well as companies whose securities they do not own.


©2010 Securities Technology Monitor and SourceMedia, Inc.




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.