Prudential Financial Inc.‘s board of directors adopted proxy access, enabling shareholders to nominate candidates starting next year, a news release Wednesday from the company said.
The New York City Retirement Systems, whose combined assets total $163.4 billion, in a separate release, agreed to withdraw shareholder proxy access proposals at Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Staples Inc. in exchange for their agreement to submit a management proposal on the issue.
Prudential’s board, unlike the other companies, amended its bylaws “as part of its ongoing commitment to corporate governance best practices, making Prudential one of the first companies to take this step independently, without a shareholder proposal,” the company’s release said. The Prudential bylaw will enable a shareholder or a group of up to 20 shareholders who own in total at least 3% of the company’s outstanding stock continuously for at least three years to use corporate proxy materials to nominate up to 20% of the board.
The $29.4 billion Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, Hartford; the $56 billion UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust, Ann Arbor, Mich.; and the $4.3 billion Philadelphia Public Employees Retirement System co-sponsored the Abercrombie and Fitch proposal. The $15.1 billion Illinois State Board of Investment, Chicago, and the Philadelphia system co-sponsored the Staples proposal.
Under the New York City systems’ agreements, Abercrombie & Fitch and Staples will offer management proposals for a bylaw amendment for a shareholder vote. If shareholders approve, the proposals would enable a group of up to 25 shareholders who own 3% of the stock for three years to use corporate proxy materials to nominate up to 25% of the board.
Scott M. Stringer, New York City comptroller, who oversees the system made up of five funds, earlier reached agreements with Whiting Petroleum Corp. and Big Lots Inc., according to the release.
The four companies are among the 75 at which the New York City systems submitted access proposals for a shareholder vote at their annual meetings this year.
Brian Logan, spokesman for Abercrombie & Fitch; Mark Cautela, Staples; Ashley McNamee, Whiting Petroleum; and Andrew D. Regrut, Big Lots; could not be reached for comment.