ASA Outlines Principles for Proxy Process Reform to House Financial Services Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Securities Association (ASA), in advance of this week’s House Committee on Financial Services hearings, sent a letter to Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) supporting meaningful reforms that protect Main Street investors and provide more transparency and accountability for proxy advisory firms.
“The proxy advisory process must be reformed to prioritize the interests of working families, retirement savers, and small public companies- not activist investors with a political agenda,” said ASA President & CEO Chris Iacovella. “The Agency’s approval of shareholder proposals that have a “broad societal impact” has led to the “federalization of corporate governance”, leaving Congress with a decision to make; It can either: (1) tinker around the edges to reform Rule 14a-8 in the hopes that the SEC will one day see the wisdom in providing a consistent and reasonable approach to the Rule, or (2) get the SEC out of the business of deciding what proposals deserve a shareholder vote and return the power to oversee matters of corporate governance to the states. We look forward to working with the Financial Services Committee to reform the proxy process, remove politics from the boardroom, and protect the interests of all American investors.”
On shareholder proposals and Rule 14a-8, ASA has significant concerns about the SEC mission’s creep into the purview of state corporate law, whereas states have historically been entrusted with determining adjudicating the substantive rights of shareholders.
On the issue of proxy advisory firms, ASA believes proxy advisors (1) must be regulated by the SEC, (2) must be required to give public companies the opportunity to respond to their recommendations to correct any errors, (3) must properly disclose conflicts of interest that may influence their voting recommendations, and (4) must be subject to the SEC’s antifraud rules to be held accountable for making false or misleading statements.
ASA continues to be at the forefront of advocacy to industry and Members of Congress to protect Main Street investors and represent regional financial services firms who work to increase investment returns for families and individuals across America.
About the American Securities Association
American Securities Association, based in Washington, DC, represents the retail and institutional capital markets interests of regional financial services firms who provide Main Street businesses with access to capital and advise hardworking Americans how to create and preserve wealth. ASA’s mission is to promote trust and confidence among investors, facilitate capital formation, and support efficient and competitively balanced capital markets. This mission advances financial independence, stimulates job creation, and increases prosperity. The ASA has a geographically diverse membership of almost one hundred members that spans the Heartland, Southwest, Southeast, Atlantic, and Pacific Northwest regions of the United States.