SEC reopens universal proxy comment period

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has voted to reopen the comment period regarding proposed rules for the use of universal proxy cards as a means of aiding director elections.

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The effort would facilitate clarity and efficiency for shareholders casting votes.

“This is an important step toward finalizing rules that will facilitate clarity and efficiency for shareholders voting in director elections,” SEC Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee said.

Interested parties can submit further comments and data on the rule amendments proposed five years ago and comments on questions raised in the reopening release.

“Reopening the comment period will allow the public to share additional views on the use of universal proxy cards in director elections, particularly in light of the corporate governance developments that have occurred since the Commission issued its proposal,” Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance John Coates said.

Additionally, authorities indicated interested parties would be able to provide feedback on developments that have occurred since 2016, including the potential economic and other impacts of the proposal. According to the SEC, the public comment period will remain open for 30 days following publication of the release in the Federal Register.

Feedback is being solicited on whether proposed rule changes should be extended to registered investment companies and business development companies and whether dissidents should be required to solicit more than a majority of the voting power of shares entitled to vote, as proposed in 2016.

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