This annual proxy season review offers invaluable insights into the key trends of 2023 and equips companies with the necessary information to navigate the upcoming 2024 proxy season.
The Debriefing 2023 uncovered several key findings that provide valuable insights into the current landscape of ballot proposals, raising pertinent questions about the direction of environmental, social, and governance initiatives and their reception among stakeholders:
- Environmental proposals have experienced a significant decline in majority support with less than 5% of them receiving majority support in 2023. This number is down from nearly a quarter of proposals that made it onto ballots in 2022, and nearly 50% of such proposals in 2021. Meanwhile, social proposals have remained the most prevalent, with 'Anti-ESG' submissions comprising almost 10% of this category. Despite the increasing number of 'Anti-ESG' proposals, their overall support has been meager, garnering an average of merely 1.6%.
- Governance proposal submissions continue to fall, which have been focused on topics such as special meetings, independent chairs, and reduction of supermajority vote requirements.
- Compensation-related proposals have seen a significant uptick, almost doubling in number. Particularly noteworthy is the surge in proposals requesting shareholder approval of severance policies, which have tripled in comparison to previous years.
"The Debriefing offers a clear reflection of the evolving shareholder landscape. While the overall number of proposals remains consistent, their nature, focus, and level of support are shifting," said Zally Ahmadi, Senior Vice President, Corporate Governance, ESG & Executive Compensation at D.F. King. "As we prepare for engagement season this fall in advance of the 2024 proxy season, companies must engage in comprehensive planning, tailored to these changing dynamics, to ensure they meet their shareholders' expectations and achieve favorable vote outcomes," said Ahmadi.
The 2023 Debriefing underscores D.F. King's commitment to helping companies understand these dynamics and to plan strategically for a successful proxy voting season in the coming year.
To download The Debriefing 2023, visit: equiniti.com/us/insights/eq-views/2023-debriefing-season-review-and-fall-engagement-guide/
About D.F. King
At D.F. King, an EQ company, we leverage our unique depth and diversity of experience to deliver high-level advisory services, custom reporting, securityholder outreach programs and educational strategies to each client. D.F. King provides high-level advisory services in contested solicitations and proactive solutions for all corporate governance needs. Services include proxy solicitation; shareholder profile analysis; proxy advisory firm consulting; M&A, information agent services to equity and debt markets; corporate governance and executive compensation consulting; and call center services. Learn more at dfking.com.
EQ are specialists in helping you better understand and manage the ownership of your company through critical events across the corporate lifecycle. As trusted advisors, we provide strategic insight and operations expertise through our core business units in Private Company Services, Transfer Agent Services, Employee Plan Solutions, Proxy Services, and Bankruptcy. Globally we serve 6,700 clients (49% of the FTSE 100 UK and 35% of the S&P 500), with over 30 million shareholders, through 6,500 employees in 5 markets around the world. Learn more at equiniti.com/us.
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