The Coalition encourages you to get involved and help advocate for improvements to the U.S. proxy system.
Contact Your Elected Representatives
The Coalition is actively working in Congress to build support for a comprehensive review of the proxy rules by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). If you are interested in urging the Representatives and Senators from your state to contact the SEC about these issues, click on these links for a list of Members serving on the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee, the Committees with jurisdiction over the SEC. These listings have active links to help you send an email or otherwise contact these Representatives and Senators.
Contact Your Broker
You can also exercise your rights with your broker or other financial intermediary. As a shareholder in a public company, you may prefer to receive important shareholder communications directly from the company in which you have invested.
If you hold your shares in a brokerage account, however, your broker may have assumed you did not want to receive information directly from the companies in which you own stock - and may have withheld your name and contact information from those companies.
If you prefer to receive information directly from the companies in which you invest, you may call or send a letter to your broker with the words: "I do not object to receiving communications directly from the companies in which I own stock."
Your broker will then change your status from an "Objecting Beneficial Owner" (OBO) to a "Non-Objecting Beneficial Owner" (NOBO). This means that you do not object to the company in which you have invested knowing that you are a shareholder, and that you do not object to receiving communications directly from the company.
Please note that changing your status to NOBO does NOT mean you will begin receiving marketing material or solicitations from the companies in which you invest. This change simply means that you may receive important company shareholder communications directly from the company, rather than through your broker.
Know Your Voting Rights in Margin Accounts
If you have a margin account with a broker, you should review it to ensure that your voting rights are protected. A margin account permits investors to borrow funds to purchase securities and also to engage in short sale transactions.
Many margin account agreements provide for the broker to "borrow" your shares for short selling and other transactions. If your shares are loaned out when a record date for a shareholder meeting is established, you lose your voting rights because you are not in possession of your shares at the time of the record date. Most margin account agreements permit this to occur without your knowledge or approval.
Here is a typical disclosure about voting rights in a margin account:
"If you hold a margin account, which allows you to invest with borrowed funds, it is possible that the number of shares shown in proxy voting materials may be less than the number of shares you own in your margin account. That is because securities purchased on margin may be loaned by [NAME OF BROKER] to itself or investors under the terms of a margin investor’s account agreement. Margin investors do not have voting rights on the loaned shares, although margin investors remain the actual owners of the shares."
Call your broker and obtain a copy of your margin account agreement. If you are concerned about losing your voting rights for shares you own in a company, you can cancel your margin agreement or seek to renegotiate the terms of your current agreement.