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Is The SEC Confused About Who Solicits Proxies?

In reviewing some recent proxy bylaw provisions, I noted that some refer specifically to solicitations “by the Board of Directors”.  See, for example, this bylaw provision recently adopted by Monsanto Company.  This reference to solicitations by the Board of Directors makes some sense in light of the instruction in SEC Rule 14a-4(a) that the form of…

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SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee Pushes For Oddly Named “Universal Proxy Ballots”

In late July, the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee issued a recommendation that the SEC “explore relaxing the ‘bona fide nominee’ rule embodied in Rule 14a-4(d)(1) . . . to provide proxy contestants with the option (but not the obligation) to use Universal Ballots in connection with short slate director nominations (in other words, where the candidates nominated…

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Why Is There No Withhold Box?

The Securities and Exchange Commission has long required that a form of proxy relating to matters other than election to office provide a means to specify by boxes a choice between approval or disapproval of, or abstention with respect to, each separate matter to be voted on at the meeting.  Rule 14a-4(b)(1).  More recently, the SEC in…

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A Proxy Is Not A Vote And Why It Matters

As discussed in this prior post, the Securities and Exchange Commission recently proposed rule amendments to implement the Dodd-Frank Act’s executive compensation advisory votes mandates.  Regrettably, the SEC’s proposal perpetuates the common misconception that executing a proxy is the same as voting.  For example, the SEC’s proposed Rule 14a-4(b)(3) refers to “[a] form of proxy which provides for a shareholder vote…

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