Published on Feb 12th, 2015 | Posted in Articles

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced the agenda and panelists for its February 19 roundtable on ways to improve the proxy voting process.

The roundtable, announced in January, will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will be divided into two panels.  Participants on the first panel will focus on the state of contested director elections and whether changes should be made to the federal proxy rules to facilitate the use of universal proxy ballots by management and proxy contestants.  Participants also will discuss the state law, logistical, and disclosure issues presented by a possible universal proxy ballot process. 

Participants on the second panel will focus on strategies for increasing retail shareholder participation in the proxy process.  Participants will discuss how technology – by providing better access to information or easier means of voting – might affect retail participation.  In addition, participants will discuss whether the format of disclosure could be improved to increase the engagement of shareholders and how the mechanics of voting could be improved to affect retail shareholder participation.

Agenda and Panelists

9:30 a.m.         Opening Remarks

9:45 a.m.         Panel 1:  Universal Proxy Ballots

Moderators:  Keith Higgins, Director, Division of Corporation Finance and Michele Anderson, Chief, Office of Mergers and Acquisitions, Division of Corporation Finance


  • Frederick H. Alexander, Counsel, Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell, LLP and Advisor for Legal Policy, B-Lab
  • Chris Cernich, Managing Director, M&A and Contested Elections, Institutional Shareholder Services
  • Lisa M. Fairfax, Leroy Sorenson Merrifield Research Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Bruce H. Goldfarb, President and Chief Executive Officer, Okapi Partners
  • David A. Katz, Partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz LLP
  • Michelle Lowry, Ph.D., TD Bank Endowed Professor, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University
  • Charles Penner, Partner, Chief Legal Officer, JANA Partners LLC
  • Anne Simpson, Senior Portfolio Manager and Director of Global Governance, CalPERS
  • Sarah B. Teslik, Senior Vice President – Communications, Public Affairs and Governance, Apache Corporation
  • Steve Wolosky, Partner, Olshan Frome & Wolosky LLP

11:15 a.m.       Break

11:30 a.m.       Panel 2:  Retail Participation in the Proxy Process

Moderators:  Keith Higgins, Director, Division of Corporation Finance and David Fredrickson, Chief Counsel and Associate Director, Division of Corporation Finance


  • Donna Ackerly, Senior Managing Director, Georgeson Inc.
  • Reena Aggarwal, Robert E. McDonough Professor of Finance, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University; Director, Georgetown Center for Financial Markets and Policy
  • John Bajkowski, President, American Association of Individual Investors
  • Alan Beller, Senior Counsel, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
  • John Endean, President, American Business Conference
  • Lawrence Hamermesh, Ruby R. Vale Professor of Corporate and Business Law at Widener Law Delaware’s Institute of Delaware Corporate and Business Law
  • Cornish F. Hitchcock, Principal, Hitchcock Law Firm PLLC
  • Niels Holch, Executive Director, Shareholder Communications Coalition
  • James McRitchie, Publisher,
  • Nell Minow, Co-Founder, The Corporate Library; Founder and Former Board Member, GMI Ratings
  • Robert Schifellite, President, Investor Communication Services, Broadridge Financial Solutions
  • Darla Stuckey, President and Chief Executive Officer, Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, Inc.

1:00 p.m.         Closing Remarks

The roundtable will be held in the multi-purpose room of the SEC’s headquarters in Washington D.C., and is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.  The event also will be webcast live on the SEC website and archived for later viewing.

Members of the public are welcome to submit comments on the topics to be addressed at the roundtable.  Comments may be submitted electronically or on paper; please use one method only.  Any comments submitted will become part of the public record of the roundtable and posted on the SEC’s website.

Electronic submissions:

Use the SEC’s Internet submissions form or send an e-mail to

Paper submissions:

Send paper submissions in triplicate to the Office of the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549-1090.