Four key trends of the 2012 proxy season
Shareholder proposal topics shift and agreements for withdrawals reached
Compensation-related proposals now account for the smallest category of proposal topics.
Board-focused and environmental/social proposals each represent about 35% of the total. There has also been a corresponding change in the level of voting support for proposals in these categories.
Company-shareholder engagement leads to agreements
Successful company-shareholder engagements are resulting in the withdrawal of shareholder proposals prior to their coming to a vote. This proxy season, at least 15% of the over 800 shareholder proposals tracked by Ernst & Young LLP were withdrawn after dialogue between companies and shareholders. Proposals focused on board or environmental and social topics were among those most likely to be withdrawn.
Although individual investors submit the highest proportion of proposals, they are the least likely to engage and negotiate a withdrawal of the resolution. Proposals submitted by public pension and socially responsible investing (SRI) funds were most commonly withdrawn following agreement.