The proposed changes to Form N-PX are aimed at bringing bring greater consistency, transparency and usability to allow investors to more easily understand and analyze proxy-voting information that filers report, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said during a commission meeting Wednesday.
The rule-making was approved in a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Hester Peirce, a Republican, issuing the lone dissenting vote. Ms. Peirce took issue with the proposed Form N-PX changes, saying they could harm investors and are not sought by most of the public.
"The real interest in this kind of detailed voting information is to come from activists and the ever-expanding population of so-called 'stakeholders,' for whom proxy voting seems to be the fund's highest purpose," she said.
Ms. Peirce's fellow Republican on the commission, Elad L. Roisman, expressed concerns with portions of the proposal, but voted in favor of putting it out to public comment.
In announcing his support for the proposed Form N-PX amendments, Mr. Gensler said a lot has changed since the form was adopted in 2003 and the amendments can increase its efficiency.
"If finalized, today's rules would bring standardization and usability to this important form, updating it for today's technologies," Mr. Gensler said. "Investors will be able to see information tagged by categories, and they'll be able to access this information in a format that is easy to analyze electronically."
Dorothy Donohue, deputy general counsel at the Investment Company Institute, said in a statement that the proposal would make it easier to access and analyze fund proxy votes.
"Regulated funds take their proxy voting responsibilities very seriously," Ms. Donohue added. "We will review the proposal and carefully assess how it could affect regulated funds' proxy voting practices. We intend to comment and look forward to engaging with the SEC."
A 60-day comment period will commence after the proposal is published in the Federal Register.