WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tom Quaadman, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber's Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness issued the following statement today regarding the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposal to finalize its roll back of proxy advisory firm regulations and propose changes to the rules governing shareholder proposal exceptions.
“The SEC’s votes today will significantly weaken investor protections and corporate governance, while turning a blind eye to conflicts of interests. By amending one previously finalized rulemaking before they were allowed to take effect and undermining the spirit of another, the SEC is pursuing a politically motivated agenda that endangers the competitiveness of our public capital markets. The Proxy Advisor Rule finalized in 2020 is rooted in deliberations that spanned a decade and multiple administrations and led to a regulation that created a level playing field while ensuring that investors would have access to high quality information, free of bias. Similarly, the 2020 Shareholder Proposal Rule updated a 1950’s rule with a modest but important protection for investors by balancing the interests of shareholder democracy and helping companies to stay focused on long-term company performance.
“Today’s actions undermine the regulatory progress made at the SEC in recent years to encourage companies to go, and stay, public – companies which ultimately create more opportunities for main street investors and everyday Americans and help grow our economy. The Chamber will consider all available options including the courts to stop these unwarranted and clearly political steps backward.”
The 2020 Proxy Advisor Rule was promulgated following a decade of deliberations at the SEC about how to root out and eliminate misinformation and conflicts of interest in the proxy process so that investors would have access to high quality information free of bias. Today’s actions eviscerate the 2020 rule’s transparency and accountability measures for proxy voting advice businesses, putting investors and markets in harm’s way. The Commission can and must observe better rulemaking process. Learn more.
The 2020 Shareholder Proposal Rule modestly increased thresholds for shareholder proposals for the first time since the Eisenhower administration, helping companies to stay focused on long-term shareholder returns. Today’s proposed amendments to Rule 14a-8 would further embolden special interest activists that seek to turn board rooms and shareholder meetings into political debate societies, thus jeopardizing long-term company performance. Learn more.