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Proxy Issue Proposals: Impact of the 1992 SEC Proxy Reforms


This article assesses the impact of the 1992 SEC reforms that enhanced the ability of share-holders to communicate during a proxy contest. Utilizing a sample of 361 shareholder-sponsored corporate governance issue proposals from 1991 to 1995, the article finds that the mean percentage of total outstanding votes cast in favor of an issue proposal declined sig-nificantly post-reform. As explanation, the article furnishes evidence that certain sponsors interested in their own private agenda rather than general shareholder welfare exploited more fully the proxy mechanism post-reform; controlling for the composition of sponsors, the proxy reforms generated no significant change in the for-vote outcome of issue proposals. The article concludes instead that the reforms resulted in a shift in the composition of issue proposals targets toward companies relatively less vulnerable to such proposals pre-reform.

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