A Look at Early Proxy Season Voting Tallies
The early voting results are infor the 2013 proxy season, that is. Proxy Voting Fact Sheet, a new report from The Conference Board, offers a snapshot of which shareholders got their proposals to a vote and, yes, which corporations failed their say-on-pay votes among companies that held annual meetings in January and February.
According to the report, three companies failed their advisory say-on-pay votes, out of the 109 companies that had reported those tallies by early March. Shareholders booed managements proposed compensation plans at Navistar International Corporation, where only 17.8 percent approved; Digital Generation Inc. (38.7 percent approval); and Nuance Communications Inc. (41.2 percent approval).
The report also notes that only one other company didnt muster 70 percent shareholder approval for its executive pay plan: Apple Inc. (which got hit with an attempt to enjoin the say-on-pay vote in the run-up to its February 27 meeting). The tech giants proposal passed with 59.7 percent of shareholders approving, 38.1 percent voting against, and 2.2 percent abstaining.
On average, companies captured 90.8 percent shareholder approval among votes cast in say-on-pay votes, according to The Conference Board.
The Conference Board examined shareholder voting patterns at the 141 companies in the Russell 3000 index that disclosed their results as of March 8. The sample includes 24 companies from the S&P 500.
For their part, shareholders submitted 39 proposals to the companies studied, and 21 of them (53.8 percent) went to a vote. About one third (35.9 percent) were omitted, and another four proposals were withdrawn.
Whose proposals went to a voteand whose didnt? Even though individuals filed 17 proposals, More than three-quarters of the proposals submitted by individuals were omitted, the report states. Two were withdrawn and two went to a vote.
Public pension funds fared better: they submitted nine proposals, and all nine went to a vote. Investment advisers put forth six proposals and saw five go to a vote (one was omitted).
Labor unions and religious groups filed the fewest proposals (two each), according to The Conference Board. Both union proposals went to a vote, while the religious groups withdrew one proposal and had one omitted prior to the proxy vote.
By subject matter, the highest number of proposals had to do with corporate governance (18 proposals), and 12 of those (66.7 percent) went to a vote. Five (27.8 percent) were omitted, and one was withdrawn.
Among the 12 executive compensation proposals, most were omitted (eight, or 66.7 percent) and three went to a vote. Out of the nine proposals on a companys social and environmental policy, six were voted on, two were withdrawn, and one was omitted.
On average, shareholder proposals on corporate governance had the highest percentage of for votes as a percentage of votes cast (65 percent), according to the report. Within that subject, proposals to declassify the board had the highest average shareholder support (79.8 percent for the nine proposals voted during the period).