TORONTO, September 23, 2020 – In response to the US Securities Exchange Commission finalizing its proposed changes to the rules today governing the submission of shareholder proposals, Kevin Thomas, CEO of SHARE, made the following comments:
“Changing the rules for submitting and re-submitting shareholder proposals has nothing to do with addressing the costs of addressing proposals – which are marginal – and everything to do with protecting entrenched corporate management from accountability.
“For decades, corporate management sang the praises of shareholder supremacy, and CEOs used that to shield them from accountability to other stakeholders, such as workers and communities. Now that shareholders are also using shareholder proposals and proxy votes to hold management accountable, corporate lobbyists have launched a vigorous campaign to shield themselves from shareholders as well.
“We need Commissioners who will stand up for accountability, not ones who genuflect to that corporate lobby.
“It is unconscionable that these new rules are designed in such a way to shut out smaller shareholders while welcoming those with deep pockets. The limits on using representatives, the restriction on working together with other shareholders, and the massive increase in individual ownership thresholds to allow a shareholder to file a proposal will all work to disenfranchise those with less money.
“I don’t believe that the value of your ideas depends on the value of your bank account. Does Chairman Clayton?”
About SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research & Education)
Since 2000, SHARE has built a community of values-driven investors who are committed to amplifying their voices in support of a sustainable, inclusive, and productive economy. As a leading non-profit investor voice on human rights and responsible investment in Canada, SHARE represents a growing network of institutional investors with more than $23 billion in assets under management. SHARE provides award-winning shareholder engagement, proxy vote auditing, education, policy advocacy, and practical research programs to help institutions meet their responsible investment objectives. Clients include pension funds, universities, foundations, Indigenous trusts, faith-based organizations, family offices, and asset managers.
Damon van der Linde
Communications Officer, SHARE