Release Date: May 20, 2009Contact: 888-249-NEWS
U.S. Chamber Comments On SEC Shareholder Access Proposal
Cites Growing Evidence That Union Activist Schemes Would Harm Investors
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness (CCMC) today expressed serious concern that the Securities and Exchange Commission's shareholder access proposal would give activist investors an unprecedented platform to push special interest agendas.
"This is a step in the wrong direction," said David Hirschmann, president and CEO of CCMC. "The proposals issued today are a gift for activist investors and will weaken corporate governance and harm investors. The U.S. Chamber will continue to vigorously oppose any plan that allows groups to use the proxy process to promote narrow interests that do not serve the long-term goals of a company or its investors. Politicizing the boardroom would hurt millions of individuals who rely on these investments for retirement."
Shareholder proxy resolutions have become an increasingly popular tool for labor officials to strong-arm companies into adopting proposals that are unrelated to improving the company's economic performance. This week the Chamber issued a study by Navigant showing that shareholder activism provides little or no benefit to shareholders: /wfi/default
"This study adds to the growing body of evidence that union proxy campaigns provide no value to shareholders," said Thomas J. Donohue, U.S. Chamber president and CEO. "Rewarding activist investors at the expense of average shareholders and pension fund members is the wrong signal at the wrong time."
Shareholders depend on strong, independent, knowledgeable boards to represent their interests, according to the Chamber. The Chamber stands ready to work with the Congress, the SEC, and all stakeholders to modernize our regulatory system and ensure shareholder interests are well represented by effective boards.
The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.
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