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CII applauds SEC for championing proxy access

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The Council of Institutional Investors has applauded the Securities and Exchange Commission for proposing ways to make it easier for shareowners to nominate their own candidates for dir

The Council of Institutional Investors has applauded the Securities and Exchange Commission for proposing ways to make it easier for shareowners to nominate their own candidates for director on corporate boards.

Allowing long-term investors to place their nominees on management’s proxy card is standard practice in much of Europe. The CII says it is a long-overdue corporate governance reform that would empower shareowners to ‘hold US directors’ feet to the fire’.

"This is a great day for shareowners," says Ann Yerger, the Council’s executive director (pictured). "Access to the proxy would invigorate board elections and make boards more responsive to shareowners, more thoughtful about whom they nominate to serve as directors and more vigilant in their oversight of companies."

Over the years, the SEC has several times considered ways to give shareowners access to the proxy to nominate directors. The global financial crisis has underscored the urgency of following through on this governance reform.

"The credit debacle represents a massive failure of oversight — by boards as well as by regulation," says Joseph A. Dear, chair of the Council and chief investment officer of California Public Employees’ Retirement System. "Investors must have the tools to hold directors accountable so they will do a better job of monitoring and, if necessary, reining in management."

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