Trending Down

The recent newsletter from Veritas reviewed shareholder proposals during the 2017 proxy season thus far.

Some of the interesting findings:

  • 2015 – 943 proposals
  • 2016 – 916 proposals
  • 2017 – 827 proposals

Somewhat of a surprise the most frequently presented were environmental and social, 345 proposals - close to 35%.

The three areas that were in the majority were as follows:

  • Social of which approximately 25% concerned board diversity;
  • Environmental were heavily represented and were heavily supported; and
  • Climate Change has started to gain traction

As Veritas reported, the following table provides a comparison between 2016 and 2017 of the most common type:

                                                                                             2016                          2017

Proxy Access                                                                        201                              114

Social                                                                                    160                             201

Environmental                                                                      139                              149

Political Contribution and Lobbying disclosure                   91                                87

The trending down relates to the shareholder proposals that were in the forefront not too long ago.  Examples, Executive compensation (Say-on-Pay), Proxy Access, Over-boarding.

It appears as if corporate management has adjusted well to the pressures on corporate governance due to board interest and institutional scrutiny and Activist pressures.

The major companies have gone through their process, and with time, this will filter down to the mid-cap organizations.