Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:BR) and PwC’s Governance Insights Center have released their ProxyPulse report for the 2016 proxy season analyzing data from 4,200 U.S. public company annual shareholder meetings held between January 1 and June 30, 2016.
According to the report, companies have been seeking a greater understanding of their retail shareholder base, including key demographic attributes. Some of the findings from the report include:
- People under the age of 40 years old represent 20% of U.S. shareholders compared to 31% of the U.S. population
- 22% of U.S. shareholders have a graduate degree, compared to 11% of the U.S. population
- 60% of U.S. shareholders are active investors compared to 30% of the U.S. population
- 38% of U.S. shareholders are Republican while 31% of U.S. shareholders are Democrats
The ProxyPulse analysis showed on average, institutions voted 91 percent of their shares, while retail investors voted only 28%, leaving 24 billion retail shares unvoted.
Paul DeNicola, managing director of PwC’s Governance Insights Center, shared:
A number of companies that have come under pressure over the past few months from large institutional investors or activist investors have looked to target an untapped segment for many – retail shareholders. This latest edition of the ProxyPulse report provides new data on the demographic makeup of retail shareholders as companies look to better understand their entire shareholder base.”
Other highlights from the report include:
- Of the 69 proxy access proposals that went to vote, 60% achieved majority support; retail shareholders cast 85% of their voted shares against proxy access
- Institutional ownership of shares in street name increased to 70% from 68% for the same period last year
- While average shareholder support for directors was 96%, 382 directors failed to obtain majority support this season
- For say-on-pay, approximately 11% of companies did not surpass the 70% shareholder threshold this season
Chuck Callan, senior vice president, regulatory affairs, Broadridge, said:
Say-on-pay continues to foster discussion between companies and their shareholders, as there was more direct dialogue between directors and investors about executive compensation. Yet, the ProxyPulse™ report shows some public companies continue to fall short of important benchmarks for say-on pay-support.”