The mutual fund is cheering as the New York Stock Exchange proposal to ban brokers from voting on behalf of some shareholders has been modified to exclude mutual funds, according to the Wall Street Journal. The revised plan was submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission last week stating that the mutual fund industry is exempt from an NYSE proposal to eliminate broker voting on behalf of shareholders who don’t vote shares themselves. The current NYSE rules allow members brokers to vote shares on routine matters, including uncontested elections, if the owners whose shares they hold don’t submit their own votes within 10 days of the shareholders’ meeting. The original proposal was never released, but garnered opposition from the Investment Company Institute, which believed the proposal would make it more difficult and costly to elect fund directors while adding little benefit to fund investors. Paul Schott Stevens, president of the ICI, said last week that the fund group is pleased to support the amended proposal. As a general matter, “the election of directors is not routine,” said Catherine Kinney, NYSE Euronext president and co-chief operating officer, at an SEC meeting last week. However, smaller public companies, which also raised similar arguments as the mutual fund industry, are not exempt under the revised proposal. The NYSE said its decision to shield only fund companies came even though its advisory group had “considerable concern and discussion about the potential problems facing smaller issuers as a result of the potential rule change, as well as discussion about the similarities and differences between smaller operating companies and investment companies.” The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.
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