The SEC’s No-Action Letter Process—Which Companies and Proponents Are the Most Active?

The usual suspects were at it again in the 2016 proxy season.

Companies have requested SEC no-action letter relief for 231 proposals so far this year from 309 proponents, according to Bloomberg Law data.  This means, of course, that some of the proposals were submitted by more than one proponent. 

Proponents NALs

Who were the top five?  John Chevedden submitted 16.5 percent of the 231 proposals.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • John Chevedden (38 proposals)
  • Kenneth Steiner (17 proposals)
  • Qube Investment Management Inc. (16 proposals)
  • Myra K. Young (11 proposals)
  • James McRitchie (8 proposals)

On the other side, General Electric Co. led the pack among companies, with eight no-action letter requests. 

NALs Companies

Below is a breakdown of the companies and types of proposals for which they sought relief:

  • General Electric Co.: Human Rights/Social Issues (2), Cumulative Voting (2), Environmental Issues (1), Executive Compensation (1), and Other (2).
  • Exxon Mobil Corp.: Auditing (1), Compensation Committees (1), Environmental Issues (4), and Other (1).
  • CVS Health Corp.: Human Rights/Social Issues (1), Charitable/Political Contributions and Lobbying Activities (1), Executive Compensation (2), and Environmental Issues (1).
  • Chevron Corp.: Risk Management (1), Environmental Issues (3), and Human Rights/Social Issues (1).

Gibson Dunn handled all of the proposals on behalf of GE and Chevron, while Exxon Mobil used Gibson Dunn for one proposal and Davis Polk for three.  Otherwise, the companies’ in-house legal departments fielded the rest of the requests.

To read more about the 2016 proxy season and how it will impact the 2017 season, see this article.