In its long-awaited concept release on the proxy “plumbing” process, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday sought public comment on making changes to the proxy voting and distribution system but fell far short of advocating any major overhaul.
The SEC is seeking comment on whether it should eliminate or reduce the ability of investors to hide their identities from corporations by categorizing themselves as “objecting beneficial shareholders” (OBOs); whether the New York Stock Exchange’s fee structure for proxy distribution be eliminated in favor of allowing the marketplace to determine the appropriate fees; whether retail investors can or should provide their broker-dealers with standing instructions on how they want to vote their shares; whether shareholders can under any circumstances gain rights to vote a public company’s shares, even if they do not own the shares; and other matters affecting how voting conducted or tabulated.
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