This proxy season has been the most intensely followed by investors and corporate executives, according to people in the institutional investor community.
"There are a lot more shareholder resolutions" than earlier years, said Keith L. Johnson, chief legal officer for the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Madison, which has $70.6 billion in assets under management. "It's a lot busier."
"It is probably the busiest we've ever seen in terms of shareholder resolutions and activism," said Charles M. Elson, law professor at the University of Delaware, Newark, and director of its Center for Corporate Governance.
At Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., Rockville, Md., Patrick S. McGurn, senior vice president and special counsel, calls this year "the end of the routine proxy season."
This year, more corporate boards appear willing to reach accommodation with activist shareholders, who are winning more support in general on shareholder proposals.
Among data compiled by ISS on this proxy season, which is winding down:
• Some 1,100 shareholder resolutions were expected to be introduced this year, ISS estimated. That would be a record. Last year was the first time the number of resolutions topped 1,000; about 1,050 were filed. This year about 700 of them will come to a vote, about the same as last year.
• So far this year, there have been 100 majority votes on shareholder resolutions. In all of last year, 172 shareholder proposals received a majority vote, or about 25% of the shareholder resolutions voted.
It's too early to see whether companies will implement shareholder proposals that received a majority vote this year, Mr. McGurn said. Last year, companies acted on 70 of the proposals that received a majority vote.