The SEC 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, Brian J. Lane, director of the agency's division of corporation finance, said in an interview today.
The recommendations will be included in a report to Congress. Under a new securities law enacted in October, the SEC has one year to present recommendations to lawmakers on improving the shareholder proposal process.
The SEC will ask corporations how many proposals they receive in a season and how much time and money it costs them 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.
The SEC also will ask investors for ideas on streamlining the manner in which investors can present requests to companies. Companies currently can exclude shareholder proposals from their ballot because they deal with day-to-day business and for other reasons. Talks between investors and corporations on the issue broke down last year.