Investor Rights, Gender Diversity Among Top Issues in ISS Survey

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By Andrea Vittorio

Limiting shareholder rights and lagging gender diversity are among the top issues for investors, companies, and boards coming out of this proxy season, according to a set of questions posed by Institutional Shareholder Services Inc.

Responses to the annual survey, the first part of which is open until the end of August, will help feed into the proxy adviser’s recommendations on how institutional investors should vote at companies’ next round of annual meetings.

Investor voting rights has been in the spotlight since Snap Inc. went public earlier this year with voteless stock that offered shareholders no say on executive pay or other company matters. It’s been riling up investors who support equal voting rights and pitting index providers against stock exchanges. ISS wants to know where survey respondents stand on the issue.

The survey also asks about slow progress toward bringing more women into corporate boardrooms, including whether investors should vote against directors at companies with no women on their board. Other topics covered by the survey include the trend toward virtual meetings instead of in-person gatherings and a rule that requires companies to report starting in 2018 the gap in pay between their executives and rank-and-file employees.

Responses to these broad questions are due by Aug. 31. A follow-up section that includes more questions on topics such as responsible investment and takeover defenses closes Oct. 6.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Vittorio in Washington at avittorio@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Yin Wilczek at ywilczek@bna.com

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