A news release about its study of its support for more than 460 client annual meetings said widely-held preseason concerns about increased shareholder activism, longer and more complex meetings, and issues resulting from the loss of the broker vote for directors proved to be largely unfounded.
For example, the study found only 8% of the meetings BNY Mellon supported contained either a management or shareholder request for an advisory vote on pay. Also, the average attendance was 41 shareholders and 65% of companies in the survey had less than 50 shareholders present.
Other findings from the survey included:
- The number and types of proposals on this year’s proxies did not change significantly.
- The elimination of broker voting on director nominations did not create issues for most companies.
- Most meetings were low-key affairs with little or no activist participation.
“Expectations leading up to the season were for a rising tide of activism across a broad range of issues — greater pay scrutiny, clawback provisions, changes to board structure, and a host of other governance matters,” said Robert Folinus, vice president and meeting services product manager for BNY Mellon Shareowner Services, in the news release. “Our data indicates that for the season as a whole, these expectations didn’t play out. Companies were able to formulate meeting strategies that enabled them to meet regulatory requirements and conduct non-controversial and often downsized meetings.”
An executive summary of survey results is at http://www.bnymellon.com/shareownerservices/proxy2010.pdf