New York City Comptroller expands proxy access campaign

Jan 12, 2016
<p>Pfizer, ExxonMobil and Intel among companies pushed for proxy access bylaws in 2016</p>

The New York City pension fund system has filed 72 shareholder resolutions demanding proxy access as a follow-up to its ‘boardroom accountability’ project launched in late 2014 that persuaded dozens of companies to adopt proxy access bylaws.

Half of the resolutions filed this week by the New York City Pension Funds are new filings while the other half are re-filings of resolutions from 2015, when the pension fund system advocated for 75 shareholder resolutions pushing for ‘meaningful’ proxy access laws, according to New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

A meaningful proxy access law, Stringer says, would give investors owning 3 percent of a company for three or more years the right to list their director candidates on a company’s ballot.

Since the mass filing of shareholder resolutions pushing for proxy access last year, which was backed by a coalition of investors with $1 tn in assets under management, the number of US-listed companies with proxy access bylaws has increased from 6 to 115, Stringer says.

‘In 2015, investors finally broke through corporate America’s decade-long opposition to proxy access,’ Stringer says in a press release. ‘The message they delivered to corporate boards is this: shareowners want a meaningful voice in the boardroom and they are prepared to voice their support for that right. Today, companies are responding by adopting proxy access at an astounding rate and momentum is growing for this movement toward greater accountability.’

Since Stringer filed the 75 proxy access resolutions last year, 37 of the companies targeted have agreed to enact proxy access bylaws. Two-thirds of the resolutions that went to vote received majority support.

Companies targeted in the latest mass filing of proxy access resolutions include Pfizer, PepsiCo, Colgate-Palmolive, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Electronic Arts, Peabody Energy, ExxonMobil, Avon, Wells Fargo, Intel and others.

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