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US - SEC Guidance about Proxy Voting

07/09/2020

On 22 July 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to adopt amendments to its rules governing proxy solicitations designed to ensure that clients of proxy voting advice businesses have reasonable and timely access to more transparent, accurate and complete information on which to make voting decisions. The amendments aim to facilitate the ability of those who use proxy voting advice—investors and others who vote on investors’ behalf—to make informed voting decisions without imposing undue costs or delays that could adversely affect the timely provision of proxy voting advice.

The amendments condition the availability of two exemptions from certain of the federal proxy rules often used by proxy voting advice businesses on compliance with tailored and comprehensive conflicts of interest disclosure requirements.  The exemptions are also conditioned on two principles-based requirements designed to ensure that:  (1) registrants that are the subject of proxy voting advice have such advice made available to them in a timely manner, and (2) clients of proxy voting advice businesses are provided with an efficient and timely means of becoming aware of any written responses by registrants to proxy voting advice.  These conditions reflect certain observed market practices and are intended to ensure that proxy voting advice clients have access to information that is more transparent, accurate and complete.

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