H. R. 4015, Corporate Governance Reform and Transparency Act of 2017

“This bill would require proxy advisory firms to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and subject them to certain rules and reporting requirements. Publicly traded companies are required to issue proxy statements to shareholders before voting on corporate actions — like electing company directors and approving compensation packages. Proxy advisory firms advise a variety of clients like pension plans, mutual funds, and other institutional investors which can influence their advice, so this bill would require such firms to disclose potential or actual conflicts of interest when providing services.

Proxy advisory firms would be required to disclose information about their financial and managerial resources to the SEC in addition to disclosing conflicts of interest to current or prospective clients.

The SEC would be required to report annually to Congress on its regulation of proxy advisory firms.” (Source: Countable)

Why Jason Lewis’ vote conflicts with our values.

“In summary, we believe that corporate governance works best when shareholders are empowered with independent, impartial information when voting on important corporate issues. H.R. 4015 is a harmful bill that would allow corporate management to unreasonably insert themselves in the relationship between investors and the entities whom investors hire for independent advice on these decisions.” (Source: Minority View, Committee on Financial Services, Report 115-451)

“The bill would undermine the ability of shareholders to get reliable, independent analysis of proxy issues on which they are asked to vote.”  (Source:  Consumer Federation of America)

“The regulatory scheme is a transparent attempt to weaken if not eliminate the independence of proxy advisory firms from firm management by placing sharp restrictions on their expression of opinions which differ from those of firm management. Besides raising First Amendment issues, this improperly restricts the ability of shareholders to obtain independent views on how they should exercise their voting rights.”  (Source:  Americans for Financial Reform)

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