The United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Washington, a leading shareholder activist on behalf of its members’ pension funds, “strongly” opposes a proposed rule by the SEC to allow shareholders access to corporate proxy material to nominate directors, according to a comment letter submitted to the SEC.
It is strongly opposed to the “establishment of a uniform federal proxy access right,” Edward J. Durkin director-corporate affairs department wrote in the six-page comment letter.
Instead, it favors a rule change “to enable shareholders, under certain circumstances, to require companies to include in company proxy materials proposals that would establish or request the establishment of a proxy access right for shareholder director nominees,” Mr. Durkin wrote.
“Our belief that clear evidence has not been presented to demonstrate that the likely increase in actual or threatened ‘short-slate’ proxy contests resulting from the proposed access right will advance the goal of enhanced board accountability, without exacerbating short-term pressure on boards of directors that could undermine long-term corporate and shareholder value creation,” Mr. Durkin wrote.
BGI, in a letter submitted by Abe Friedman, BGI managing director and global head of corporate governance and proxy voting, said BGI supports the proposal if modified to provide access contingent on triggering events BGI defines as including a company-nominated director receiving opposition votes from more than 50% of the votes cast.
“Without a triggering event requirement, the shareholder access provisions will be more vulnerable to abuse by investors with short-term goals or take-over interests,” Mr. Friedman wrote.