May 15, 2009

Proposal Rumor: Proxy Access Threshold of 1% Ownership?

Rare is the occasion where I blog about rumors, partly because they are often wrong – partly because the truth is soon known thereafter (so blogging the rumor serves no purpose other than the vanity that comes with being among the first to break the news).

But since Wednesday’s open Commission meeting to propose yet another reincarnation of proxy access is something that our community can’t get enough of – here is a Bloomberg piece by Jesse Westbrook which states that 1% is the ownership threshold that the SEC “may” propose. The article does specify the SEC “may” propose that threshold – which also means that it “may not.” The article notes that the final decision on the proposal’s content has not been made – as stated by SEC spokesman John Nestor – which I do believe to be the case.

So in the end, the article doesn’t really say much of anything that can be considered concrete (although I think highly of Mr. Westbrook) and that’s why I normally don’t blog about rumors…

If you can’t wait until next week to see the final version of Senator Schumer’s proposed “Shareholder Bill of Rights,” here is a draft and Mark Borges posted a brief summary in his “Proxy Disclosure” Blog this morning.

The SEC’s 75th Anniversary: Wanna Party?

On June 25th, the SEC Historical Society is hosting a 75th annual dinner at the National Building Museum – and it’s sold out. Personally, I passed on the official dinner due to the steep price tag of $250. There’s a recession on! I think the 60th anniversary celebration was more in the area of $20, but didn’t include dinner. Does anyone remember?

Anyways, I’m toying with the idea of picking a place nearby for a more informal gig the night before – on Wednesday, June 24th (it would be free as you would buy your own drinks). If you would be interested in such a thing, shoot me an email and I’ll see if we can raise a quorum.

The Society’s museum committee has put together this list of “75 Memorables,” which essentially is a list of the federal securities law/Wall Street highlights over the years. It’s a hard list to concoct as it’s obviously subjective – rejection of PUHCA (#69) and real-time access to EDGAR made the cut (#65; remember that the SEC used to make investors wait 24 hours to get access to filings until they were able to get out of that contractual restriction in ’02; probably one of the craziest things the SEC has ever done); adoption of XBRL did not…

“Early Bird” Rates: Expire Next Friday, May 22nd

Note that in response to our generous early bird offer for the “4th Annual Proxy Disclosure Conference” (whose pricing is combined with the “6th Annual Executive Compensation Conference”), the conference hotel is close to being “sold out.” These Conferences will be held at the San Francisco Hilton and via Live Nationwide Video Webcast on November 9-10th.

Act now, as this tier of reduced rates will not be extended beyond next Friday! With the SEC intending to propose new executive compensation rules in the near future – and Congress looking to legislate executive compensation practices this year, these Conferences are a “must.” Register now.

– Broc Romanek