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The weekly news source for investment management legal and compliance professionals

Topic: Proxies

SEC Cracks Down on Improper Proxy Voting

October 11, 2019
Now that it has adopted guidance on advisory firm proxy voting responsibilities, it appears that the SEC is showing some teeth. In two recent enforcement actions, it reached settlements with advisory firms that voted proxies for their clients after explicitly stating that they would do no such thing.

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SEC Adopts Guidance on Adviser Use of Proxy Advisory Firms and Voting

August 23, 2019
The Commission bit the bullet this past week and issued guidance to advisory firms on their responsibilities in terms of proxy voting, including the contentious issue of how they should work with proxy advisory firms. The SEC’s 3-to-2 vote in favor of the guidance most likely does not bring an end to the strong feelings that have previously been expressed on this topic, but it does set a benchmark against which future efforts may be judged.

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Peirce Critical of ESG Standards and Their Effect on Advisers and Proxy Firms

July 26, 2019
Likening it to the use of the letter A in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce has called out what she terms the increasing use of the environmental-social-governmental (ESG) label as a measuring stick for investments.

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Association Calls for Changes in Fund Proxy Voting and Communication

June 21, 2019
The Investment Company Institute, in its third comment letter to the SEC regarding changes involving proxies and proxy voting, called for the agency to forego requiring shareholder approval for certain topics, and creating a new way for funds to achieve a majority vote for others. At the same time, the ICI, which represents regulated funds, urged the SEC to require intermediaries to provide their fund shareholder lists to funds.

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Proxy Advisory Firm Use: Roisman Suggests SEC Consider Guidance

April 5, 2019
SEC Commissioner Elad Roisman thinks the time has come for the agency to consider issuing new guidance for asset managers in their use of proxy advisory firms. The SEC’s point man on ways to improve the proxy process, the relatively new commissioner made his views known at a recent industry conference, where he also said that he is seeking answers to a lot of questions about both the use of proxies and proxy advisory firms.

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IAA Urges SEC Not to Further Regulate Proxy Advisory Firms

January 23, 2019
The Investment Adviser Association is continuing its effort to head off attempts to further regulate proxy advisory firms. It recently sent a letter to the SEC urging the agency not to take such steps, following up on a similar letter with the same theme it sent to the Senate Banking Committee a few weeks before.

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Clayton Addresses Past and Future in Senate Testimony

January 4, 2019
SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, in testimony before a Senate committee, spoke of the agency’s achievements during 2018, as well as what it hoped to do in the coming year. Throughout the hearing, he stressed his ongoing themes, among them looking out for retail investors and staying on top of technological changes, including digital currencies and cybersecurity.

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2018 in Review: Standards of Care, Cryptocurrencies, SEC Changes and More

December 21, 2018
With the past year almost over and a new one about to begin, it’s time to take a look back and take stock of what was accomplished in 2018 and what issues remain. The past 12 months found major developments involving standards of care for advisers and broker-dealers, the emergence of an SEC strategy regarding cryptocurrencies, a full year in office for a new SEC team and philosophy, the rising challenges of cybersecurity, and more.

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IAA Urges Senate Committee to Focus on Proxies, Not Proxy Advisory Firms

December 14, 2018
Stay away from proxy advisory firms and focus instead on repairing proxy infrastructure. That was the message the Investment Adviser Association sent in a letter this month to the Senate Banking Committee, which on the same day held a hearing on issues related to a bill that, if passed, would require proxy advisory firms to register with the SEC as investment advisers, meaning they would be subject to agency regulation.

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Proxy Advisory Firms Again Front and Center Following SEC Roundtable

November 30, 2018
The role of proxy advisory firms returned to center stage in recent days following an SEC roundtable that raised questions about the influence such firms have over advisers and funds, conflicts of interest, whether proxy advisers should be regulated, and more. As with a similar roundtable five years ago, viewpoints were aired, with questions remaining about what actions, if any, might be taken at some future date.

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SEC Withdraws Two No-Action Letters Regarding Use of Proxy Advisory Firms

September 21, 2018
The SEC on September 13 did something unexpected: It pulled two 2004 Division of Investment Management no-action letters concerning advisers’ use of proxy advisory firms in preparation for a planned November roundtable on the subject. What made the move unusual was not that the agency decided to supersede the letters, but that it did so by actually removing them, rather than simply issuing new guidance indicating a change of course.

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Proxy Advisory Firms Again Come Under the SEC Spotlight

August 3, 2018
Advisers’ use of proxy advisory firms, including the degree to which advisers follow proxy advisers’ recommendations when they vote, will again come before the SEC, as part of a planned roundtable on the proxy process this fall. Whether any changes will result is another matter.

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Guidance on Proxy Advisory Firms and Proxy Voting Issued by SEC Staff

July 11, 2014
The SEC has once again dipped its toe into the recently churned waters of proxy advisory firms and proxy voting – and is this time providing some answers.

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Role of Proxy Advisory Services Discussed and Debated at SEC Roundtable

December 12, 2013


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Proxy Advisory Firms and Their Role Up for Debate

November 15, 2013


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Reliance on Third-Party Proxy Advisory Firms Called into Question

July 19, 2013


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