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Proxy Access Remains in Spotlight for 2017 Season

September 16, 2016, Bloomberg BNA

Keir Gumbs is quoted in a Bloomberg BNA article regarding proxy access, and how it is likely to remain in the spotlight for the 2017 proxy season. According to Gumbs, the SEC staff's H&R Block no-action response hasn't necessarily delineated clear parameters on what constitutes “substantially implemented” for proposals requesting to amend other types of provisions. There is still a lot of open ground in terms of additional arguments that can be made and there are “almost a limitless number of proxy access bylaw provisions that one could conceivably challenge or ask a company to tweak,” he adds.

“I'm not sure that all shareholders are on the same page about what level of aggregation is appropriate and what level is problematic,” Gumbs says. “Companies are going to be reluctant to make changes that aren't universally advocated by shareholders.”

There's still a lot of “open turf” out there for shareholders to approach new companies that haven't adopted proxy access bylaws, Gumbs concludes. However, it is not clear whether more companies will adopt proxy access, especially ones outside the S&P 500, where there hasn't been much pressure for them to do so yet, he says.


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