Activist institutional shareholders shifted their focus to pressing for investor rights to elect directors and influence executive compensation and spent less time on removing anti-takeover measures, according to SEC numbers. Shareholder rights activists say the change in focus indicates their movement is making a difference in corporate governance.

Martin Dunn, deputy director of the agency’s Corporate Finance division, pointed out to securities lawyers at the PLI’s annual “SEC Speaks” conference that investors submitted 324 shareholder proposals in 2006, somewhat less than the 345 measures they submitted in 2005.