The Securities and Exchange Commission will survey thousands of corporations and institutional investors in the 1997 annual meeting season for ideas on how to make the shareholder proposal process work better, said Brian J. Lane, director of the agency's division of corporation finance.
The recommendations will be included in a report to Congress later in 1997. Under a law enacted in October, the SEC has one year to present recommendations to lawmakers on improving the shareholder proposal process.
In its survey, the SEC will ask corporations how many proposals they receive in a season and how much time and money it costs to respond to the proposals, as well as changes they would like to see in the manner in which the process is regulated by the SEC.
At the same time, the SEC will ask investors for their ideas on streamlining the manner in which investors can present requests to companies.
Under current law, companies can exclude from their ballot shareholder proposals that deal with day-to-day business and a host of other reasons. Talks between investors and corporations on changing the shareholder proposal broke down last year.
- Vineeta Anand