Shareholder Proposals to Receive More Attention

by Ted Allen for Risk Metrics Group, April 18th, 2011.

So far this U.S. proxy season, investors and companies have focused on the advisory votes on compensation and pay vote frequency that all large and mid-cap firms are required to hold this year by the Dodd-Frank Act. By comparison, there has been limited attention to shareholder proposals; primarily because just 26 resolutions have gone to a vote so far.

However, that will change this week, when a series of large firms–including Citigroup, Whirlpool, and Sherwin-Williams–hold their annual meetings. Next week, General Electric, IBM, AT&T, DuPont, and Pfizer are among the blue-chip companies that will host investor meetings. Over the final two weeks of April, 80 shareholder proposals are scheduled for votes.

So far this year, shareholders have filed 774 proposals for meetings before July 1; down from 937 during the same period in 2010, according to ISS data. One reason for the smaller proposal volume this year is the absence of shareholder “say on pay” proposals, which accounted for 73 filings during the first half of last year. Among this season’s proposals, 394 remain pending, 198 were withdrawn, and 156 were omitted after corporate no-action challenges.  (continue reading… )

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