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US shareholders “wrongly denied proxy access”

US Congressman Barney Frank’s Financial Services Committee has started its deliberations on the problem of executive pay. A total of eight witnesses including former Chief Accountant, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Lynn Turner and noted academics Lucien Bebchuk and Kevin Murphy were on hand to present their testimony.

A say on pay and access to proxy resolutions has been strong feature of US shareholders’ lobbying in recent years and in his testimony, Turner strongly criticised the record of the SEC stating that: “The Second Circuit ruled that shareholders were empowered under existing proxy rules to submit proposals advocating the adoption of proxy access bylaws, yet the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance had wrongfully been depriving shareholders of that right for nearly a decade.”

With so many agencies now involved in regulatory reform in the US, many observers are concerned that a piecemeal approach to reform will yield sub-optimal results. Commenting on President Obama’s plans to enact say-on-pay legislation, Turner affirmed his support for reform but was adamant that Federal Government involvement was unecessary saying:  “I don’t view that as government intervention in any way, shape or form.”

To view a full webcast of the day’s testimony and read the individual contributions please visit the link below.

Links

House Financial Services Committee >>

US Treasury Remuneration Committee Proposals >>

What do you think?