The Manhattan Institute has unveiled its Proxy Monitor web site:
Welcome to ProxyMonitor.org—shedding light on shareholder proposals submitted to publicly traded corporations via the annual proxy process. This site is sponsored by the Center for Legal Policy, part of the non-partisan and non-profit Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.
ProxyMonitor.org is a web portal—and more. It's designed to become a hub through which investors, reporters, academics, and policymakers can access information on shareholder involvement in corporate governance. The database contains information relating to all shareholder proposals submitted for shareholder vote between 2008 and 2010, for the 100 largest American public companies. Over time, the Center for Legal Policy intends to expand the material included in the database.
This is going to be a great resource for anyone interested in shareholder activism.
Jim Copland reports that they are already using the site to do some preliminary empirical analyses:
While we've yet to do the deep empirical work that the site enables, we have done some preliminary research looking at summary statistics that does illuminate some interesting trends:
- Perhaps unsurprisingly, the largest companies are targeted by the highest number of shareholder proposals. Energy and financial companies seem to be particular targets.
- The most significant sponsors of shareholder proposals are individual investors (e.g., Evelyn Davis, John Chevveden); labor unions (e.g., the AFL-CIO, AFSCME); and certain religious orders.
- A plurality (38%) of all shareholder proposals are related to social policy goals unrelated to traditional concerns of corporate governance (e.g., human rights, animal welfare, political activity). 30% are related to executive compensation, and 32% are related to other traditional corporate governance concerns (e.g., separation of chairman and CEO, voting rules).
- No social policy proposals were adopted by shareholders over the time period. Shareholders adopted 7% of proposals related to executive compensation and 19% of proposals related to more traditional corporate governance concerns.
- While there was some variance in the number of proposals submitted over the 2008 to 2010 timespan, the more striking trend was on the percentage of proposals being adopted by shareholders. The percentage of shareholder proposals adopted rose from 5.2% in 2008 to 10.8% in 2009, before declining somewhat to 8.4% in 2010.