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:
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.