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Will Congress Act to Rein in Proxy Advisory Firms?

Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) indicated that Congress will step in if the SEC fails to act to curb investors’ reliance on proxy advisory firms, in his keynote speech at a panel discussion hosted by the American Enterprise Institute. He stated that the issue of proxy advisory firms is of significant interest to himself and his colleagues, Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), House Financial Services Chairman, and Representative Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises.

According to news reports, both Congressman McHenry and former SEC Commissioner Harvey Pitt, who organized the discussion, blamed two SEC no-action letters that we previously explained for allowing investment advisers to depend on proxy advisory firms in making their voting decisions.
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SEC Announces Agenda and Panelists for Roundtable on Proxy Advisory Services

The SEC has announced its agenda and panelists for the roundtable on proxy advisory services to be held on December 5 at 9:30 a.m. EST. The event will be webcast live as well as archived.

The roundtable will be divided into two sessions, with the first session focused on the current use of proxy advisory services, including the factors that may have contributed to their use, the purposes and effects of using the services, and competition in the marketplace for such services.  In the second session, participants will discuss issues identified in the Commission’s proxy plumbing concept release, including potential conflicts of interest that may exist for proxy advisory firms and users of their services, and the transparency and accuracy of recommendations by proxy advisory firms.
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