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Proxy Season Wrap Up: What We Learned in 2012

Louis M. Thompson | August 21, 2012

As various analyses emerge from the 2012 proxy season, one clear trend is taking shape: the importance for companies to engage with major shareholder groups.

A recent Ernst & Young report says that outreach by issuers to their major institutional investors, particularly when it is done just prior to proxy season, reaps significant benefits in gaining support for various shareholder proposals. Communicating with shareholders is especially important to gaining support for “say-on-pay” votes. After a significant outreach effort by many companies this year, the overall support level during advisory votes on executive pay plans climbed to 90 percent, up from 70 percent in 2011.

Another advantage of early investor outreach is the ability to reach agreements for shareholders to withdraw compensation-related proposals, which are now the smallest category of...

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