Two key industry players – the Investment Adviser Association and the Investment Company Institute – are taking issue with key parts of the SEC’s proposed rule amendments that would regulate how proxy advisory firms provide services to advisory firms, investment companies and others. In recent comment letters to the agency, both found fault in key provisions of the proposal.
The Investment Company Institute is calling on the SEC to “save millions of dollars for registered fund shareholders” by making significant reforms to the fund proxy voting process. Those reforms in its proposal advocate what it termed a “supermajority option,” under which funds could achieve majority votes for specified items through a combination of lowering the percentage needed for a quorum while raising the percentage required to approve certain items.
The SEC is having a busy November. On the same week that it proposed substantive changes to both the Advertising Rule and Cash Solicitation Rule, the Commission also voted to propose rule amendments that will affect how proxy advisory firms interact with advisers and others.
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 afterexplicitly stating that they would do no such thing. New York-based Amadeus Wealth Advisors was one of […]
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 SECs 3-to-2 vote in favor of the guidance most likely does not bring an end to the strong feelings […]
Likening it to the use of the letter A in Nathaniel Hawthornes 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.
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.
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 SECs 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.
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.
SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, in testimony before a Senate committee, spoke of the agencys 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.