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The SEC allows investors to select candidates in corporate selection



(Reuters) – The US Securities and Exchange Commission voted on Wednesday to give proxy investors greater freedom to choose their candidates in disputed board elections, as the agency's Democratic leadership seeks to strengthen shareholders' voting rights.

Until now, shareholders who voted remotely in disputed elections have had to choose between a complete list of board members nominated by management or a competing set of nominees from an active investor.

Unlike countries like Canada and Australia, investors in the United States could not mix and match from these competing lists unless they send a representative to vote in person at the annual meeting. The vast majority of corporate votes are cast remotely.

The SEC rule requires "universal" proxy cards that list all duly nominated board candidates, which in practice allows shareholders to shuffle and match.

Investor advocates say the former system allowed corporate skew the elections by proposing ballot papers with limited candidates which they prefer. Other candidates submitted by investors are often referred to separate ballots.

Corporate groups say the status quo was effective and warned that a universal power of attorney card could lead to potential voting, more frequent disqualification of defective ballot papers and even shareholder confusion. [1

9659002] Wednesday's rule will allow candidates to vote in person and by proxy on equal terms, said SEC President Gary Gensler.

"It makes sense for shareholders to be able to see all candidates in one place, just as they would. is an important aspect of shareholder democracy, "he added.

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