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SEC Roundtable Recap:

Proxy Advisers Are Invaluable to Investors and Public Companies, Despite What Critics Claim

Scot Draeger, R.M. Davis Private Wealth Management

Scot Draeger, Vice President of R.M Davis Private Wealth Management, said:

“[proxy advisers’] standards are wide sweeping and comprehensive and are hugely beneficial to smaller organizations.”

Jonathan Bailey, Neuberger Berman

Jonathan Bailey, Managing Director and Head of ESG Investing at Neuberger Berman, highlighted the unquestionable value of proxy advisers to shareholders and why additional regulation will be harmful:

“We have a fiduciary responsibility to consider the position that is in the best interest of our clients. That means we have to have an independent, rigorously researched perspective on how to cast those votes.”

“It is efficient and cost-saving for our clients to be able to use the workflow management capabilities that the proxy advisers offer us…”

“We have seen no evidence of an impact of conflicts of interest, we are comfortable with the way these are disclosed and we will continue to address these concerns as they arise in the future.”

“We worry about the impact the regulation might have on the timeliness and the independence of the research and data aggregation work that is done by proxy advisers. If either of those is to be threatened, that would not help improve the quality of the decision-making, which ultimately is why we use this advice in the first place.”

Brandon Rees, AFL-CIO

Brandon Rees, the Deputy Director of Corporations and Capital Markets at the AFL-CIO, pushed back on an inaccurate claim that private companies are not going public because of the “burdens” of shareholder proposals, stating:

“I have to rebut… assertion that the decline in publicly listed companies in this country has anything to do with the shareholder proposal process. I think that is simply a preposterous notion. …If you look at the total public company market valuation in the United States as a percentage of GDP – it has never been higher.”

Patti Brammer, OPERS

Patti Brammer, the Corporate Governance Officers at the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) – the 11th largest public pension fund in the United States – spoke on the value of proxy advisers to the hardworking men and women of Ohio, and noted:

“We do not see a compelling need for additional [proxy adviser] regulation at this time…”


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