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December 28, 2021

Better Markets Urges SEC to Rescind Trump-Era Provisions That Make It Harder for Investors to Receive Independent Advice on Proxy Votes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 28, 2021
Contact: Doug Walker at 202-618-6430 or dwalker@bettermarkets.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Legal Director and Securities Specialist Stephen Hall issued the following statement on the filing of Better Markets’ comment letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding its proposal to rescind Trump-era requirements that unnecessarily burden proxy advisory firms:

“We support the SEC’s proposal to rescind the provisions of a 2020 rule that stifle the availability of independent and timely advice for shareholders exercising their proxy voting rights. Those provisions were not only contrary to the public interest but also contrary to the record before the agency at the time, which reflected staunch opposition from all but corporate management and their allies.

“Investors are too often at the mercy of management’s self-interested views and recommendations on the selection of board members and the adoption of major corporate policies, even though investors are supposed to be the owners of public companies and management is supposed to work for them. One of the few avenues available to investors seeking to address this problem is to obtain independent information by hiring firms that provide proxy voting advice. Because those independent firms make recommendations to investors that may often conflict with management’s wishes, Corporate America would prefer to muzzle those firms.

“But the SEC exists primarily to protect investors, not incumbent management. It has rightly recognized that the 2020 rule provisions impose undue burdens and costs on proxy advisors and chill their ability to render independent advice. In fact, in light of the widespread investor opposition to the 2020 rule, not to mention the misleading Astroturf public engagement process surrounding that rule, those provisions should never have been finalized. Accordingly, we applaud the SEC for taking this important corrective action and moving to rescind these anti-investors aspects of the 2020 rule.”

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies–including many in finance–to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.org.

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