New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said Tuesday that 50 of 72 solicited corporations have agreed to adopt or vote on proxy-access proposals, thus enabling the New York City Retirement Systems to withdraw proxy-access resolutions to these companies.
“Proxy access gives investors a seat at the table and a voice in the process of how corporate directors are chosen,” said Mr. Stringer, the fiduciary for the five city pension funds that make up the $154 billion city pension system, in a news release Tuesday.
Eric Sumberg, a spokesman for Mr. Stringer, said in an interview that 43 of the 50 corporations already have enacted proxy-access rules. The other seven will present proxy-access resolutions endorsed by the companies’ directors to shareholders at annual meetings.
Mr. Stringer launched the pension system’s boardroom accountability project in 2014, seeking to increase stockholders’ influence on the election of corporate board members and corporate policymaking.
Mr. Stringer defines proxy access as enabling stockholders who collectively own at least 3% of company shares for three years or more to nominate up to 25% of a board of directors in any year.
For the 2016 proxy season, the New York City Retirement Systems filed proxy-access proposals at 72 companies — half are companies for which the pension system filed proposals last year and half are new filings.
Mr. Stringer said the response by companies to proxy-access requests this year contrasts with last year when 66 of the 75 targeted companies forced a vote on proxy-access resolutions. Of those 66 votes, 43 passed. All were non-binding resolutions.
“Now, more than ever, shareowners are focused on having the right people in the boardroom to drive long-term, sustainable value,” Mr. Stringer said.