July 8, 2010

Shocker! More Companies Holding Virtual-Only Shareholder Meetings

Well, it's really not that shocking given the huge cost (and time) savings and the fact that most of the companies holding virtual-only meetings are pretty small. But it's shocking to me as I thought I was keeping pretty good tabs on what is happening in this space since it's a topic I have written about for over a decade.

I just dug out a good half-dozen companies that have conducted all-virtual annual meetings this year that I didn't know about (thus, in addition to these that I blogged about a few months ago) from inspecting this list from Broadridge. Recall that Broadridge itself held a virtual annual meeting last year, as noted in my blog here.

Note that Broadridge's list doesn't break out "all virtual" from "hybrid" meetings. There is a huge difference between these types of meetings as some shareholders have been fighting against companies holding "all virtual" meetings since there is no opportunity to confront management and the board in person. In comparison, hybrid meetings combine the in person experience while providing opportunity for meeting input online - the best of all worlds for shareholders who may not be able to travel. I have broken out which companies have done all virtual amidst these "FAQs on Electronic Stockholders' Meetings" (it's the 5th FAQ in Section A).

Note that Gary Lutin's "The Shareholder Forum" will hold a roundtable on the topic on Tuesday in NYC. And remember to tune in for our webcast coming up in September - "Holding the Virtual Annual Meeting: Factors to Consider and Practice Pointers" - featuring panelists whose companies have tested the virtual waters recently...

Also, check out Dominic Jones' most recent blog - "Advisory News Releases Catching On" - a topic we will cover soon during our webcast: "Exploring the New World of Web Disclosure." And this morning, Dominic gives us the math about how Google's recent advisory release increased web referrals by 88%...

SEC to Consider "Proxy Plumbing" Concept Release Next Week

Next Wednesday, the SEC is holding an open Commission meeting to vote on issuing its long-awaited "proxy plumbing" concept release. It sounds like the concept release will have hundreds of questions in it for folks to ponder and comment on.

For the newbies out there: a concept release sometimes is used as the first step towards proposing rules. It is relatively rarely used (eg. just two of them in '09 and only one so far in '10 - see the SEC's "Concept Release" page) as a vehicle to draw in input before rules are even drafted since it takes a long time between soliciting comment on a concept, then soliciting comment on a proposal and then finally adopting final rules. So concept releases are primarily used just for broad areas of important change - that will eventually lead to one or more major rulemakings - that can afford to have a timeline of a few years...

Lawyers Transitioning to New Non-Firm Opportunities

In this podcast, Kate Neville of Neville Career Consulting - a former corporate & securities lawyer - provides some insight into how lawyers can change their lot in life, including:

- How can attorneys who are out of work or unhappy in life transfer their skill-sets to positions outside of law firms? To other professions?
- What type of resources are available to attorneys thinking about making a career move to work outside of a firm?
- What can lawyers thinking about this do to help decide if such a change is for them and determine which options to pursue?

- Broc Romanek