Improving Proxy-voting System Discussed at SEC Roundtable

This article originally appeared in Pensions & Investments in November 2018.

A session about improving proxy voting kicked off the Securities and Exchange Commission’s series of roundtable discussions Thursday on the proxy process.

The discussion, which featured 15 panelists with a range of viewpoints, touched on suggested areas to improve the current system, including universal proxy ballots, end-to-end vote confirmation and technologies, like blockchain, that could help reshape the way shareholders cast votes and receive information.

Sherry Moreland, president and chief operations officer of Mediant Communications, a proxy service provider, said implementing a universal proxy ballot would help eliminate shareholder confusion. Institutional investors have been calling for the creation of a universal proxy, which would allow them to split their vote during a contested election without having to physically attend a given meeting. Now, investors who do not attend a meeting must vote using proxy cards that do not list all board nominees. Instead they vote using management’s proxy card or the dissident group’s proxy card, and neither card lists all nominees.

Read more at Pensions & Investments.