NACD Insight & Analysis for December 3, 2010
In a New York Times (Nov. 30) article published in Wednesday’s NACD Directors Daily, columnist Stephen M. Davidoff commented on the SEC’s Concept Release on the U.S. Proxy System.
Davidoff highlighted how companies that are generally averse to government regulations are calling for additional rules for proxy advisory firms like Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). These companies see a conflict of interest for proxy advisory firms that often offer both voting recommendations and advisory services.
In alignment with the NACD Key Agreed Principles of independence and transparency, NACD agrees that proxy advisory firms should be subject to enhanced disclosure regulations. On October 20, we submitted a comment letter to the SEC on the Concept Release, covering proxy advisory firm independence, as well as NOBO/OBO voting (see the Council of Institutional Investors summary of NOBO/OBO here). The comment letter includes recommendations for the separation of businesses that offer both shareholder voting and corporate governance advice.