The Conference Board Governance Center Blog


A New View Into Proxy Voting

In preparing for annual shareholder meetings and evaluating decisions about key governance practices, governance professionals, boards and management often need to evaluate appropriate responses to shareholder proposals and governance practices in light of recent voting results on similar proposals or practices.

This week, The Conference Board and FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE:FDS | NASDAQ:FDS) announced a joint initiative to provide a tool to help companies with this analysis. The Conference Board, in collaboration with FactSet, will produce The Proxy Voting Report — an annual publication in which voting results and other information on proxy contests, proposal volume, proposal topics, and sponsorship types will be aggregated based on company size and 20 business industry groups. The annual publication will be supplemented by The Proxy Voting Fact Sheets, a bi-monthly review of the major highlights from recently held AGMs. A working paper titled Shareholder Proposals: Trends from Recent Proxy Seasons (2007-2011), available on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) database exemplifies the sort of aggregate data that will form the basis of the periodic research.

The exclusive research source for these publications will be FactSet’s online proxy-voting database, which encompasses more than 43,000 corporate documents, including: charters, bylaws, and other organizational documents; daily updates on filed shareholder and management proposals; and detailed defense profiles for more than 5,600 U.S.-incorporated companies. Under the agreement with FactSet, The Conference Board is also licensed to offer to its member companies and other business corporations full access to FactSet SharkRepellent and FactSet SharkWatch.

The database would provide companies the ability to:
• Monitor corporate governance data and takeover defenses of selected peers
• Find management and shareholder proposals, no-action letter requests, and voting results
• Receive alerts regarding changes and developments
• Access an expanded library of presentation-ready reports designed to help simplify complex research

For more information, please visit

Barbara Blarckford, Senior Advisor, The Conference Board Governance Center

Barbara Blarckford, Senior Advisor, The Conference Board Governance Center

Barbara Blackford is currently a Senior Advisor to The Conference Board Governance Center. Barbara recently retired from Superior Essex Inc., a Fortune 750 wire and cable manufacturer acquired by LS Corp, a leading South Korea exchange listed company and a member of the LS Group. Barbara has also served as General Counsel of AirGate PCS, a NASDAQ listed Sprint affiliate and Associate General Counsel of Monsanto Company. While at Monsanto, she was head of the Corporate Securities, Corporate Governance and Mergers & Acquisitions legal functions and oversaw more than $40 billion in M&A activity. In all of these roles, she was primarily responsible for providing legal support to the Board of Directors, securities compliance and executive compensation. Barbara served on the Board of Directors of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals and is a frequent speaker on governance and securities laws. She served as the Reporter for The Conference Board Task Force on Executive Compensation.

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