Thursday, October 26, 2006

ISS may be for sale

Bloomberg reported earlier today that proxy adviser ISS may be for sale. As the article indicates, proxy advisers have been attracting a lot of attention given recent regulatory changes, the fallout of several companies from the tech bubble bursting, and the influence of activist investors.

"Proxy advisers soon may wield greater influence because of a New York Stock Exchange decision yesterday that restricts brokerage firms who hold shares for clients from casting votes on their behalf without specific instructions. Brokerages usually cast the votes according to what the company's management wants unless investors tell them otherwise. The new rule goes into effect Jan. 1, 2008.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is revising rules that prevent shareholders from nominating directors. Should investor groups get SEC approval to challenge management on board-member recommendations, they may turn to ISS for advice."

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