129 Investors Co-sign Letter to SEC Sharing Concerns About Changes to Rule 14a-8
The letter shares concerns about proposed changes to rule 14a-8, a regulation that spells out the rights shareholders have to raise substantive issues of concern at the annual meetings of the companies in which they invest.Washington, DC, September 18, 2019 - US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment today delivered a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) signed by 129 investors and investor organizations with assets totaling more than $525 billion. The letter shares concerns about proposed changes to rule 14a-8, a regulation that spells out the rights shareholders have to raise substantive issues of concern at the annual meetings of the companies in which they invest. The SEC announced in May 2019 that the commission is considering rulemaking to alter the thresholds for filing or resubmitting such shareholder proposals.
“The shareholder process is working and there is no need to fix it,” said Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF. “Shareholder proposals are a vitally important, cost-effective and market-based mechanism for shareholders of all sizes to communicate with management teams, directors and other shareholders.”
The letter opposes changes to 14a-8 and notes that only a few corporate trade associations are pushing the SEC to make changes to reduce investors' ability to engage constructively with companies. Signing on to the letter are major institutional investors including the public funds in Connecticut, Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and the City of Seattle.
“Investors are not calling for these changes,” said Woll. “Over the years, shareholder proposals have helped companies address issues before they become significant problems and have contributed to substantial and tangible benefits for companies.
“The SEC's job is to protect investors and maintain well-functioning markets. We believe the SEC should protect the market mechanism tools available to shareholders to ensure that companies are transparent and accountable. It does not benefit the economy, companies or capital markets to diminish this fundamental right.”
To read the full letter, click https://www.ussif.org//Files/SEC_investor_letter_14a8_final.pdf.
Woll also noted that “We are pleased to announce that US SIF, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and The Shareholder Rights Group launched the Investor Rights Forum (www.InvestorRightsForum.com), a website to share data and research supporting the shareholder process.
About US SIF
US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes. Its mission is to rapidly shift investment practices toward sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, asset owners, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, community investing organizations and nonprofit associations.
US SIF is supported in its work by the US SIF Foundation, a 501(C)(3) organization that undertakes educational, research and programmatic activities to advance the mission of US SIF, including offering trainings on the Fundamentals of Sustainable and Impact Investment.