On a Happier Note Re: 2017 Annual Meetings
Some of the best materials that have crossed our desk so far
The number-one winner so far, and somewhat to our surprise, is Bank of America: The first thing to catch our eye was a big, red, white and blue card, proclaiming that EVERY VOTE COUNTS in big bold letters - but, more importantly, promising to “donate $1 to Special Olympics on behalf of every stockholder account that votes.” How could we fail to vote that very day? And we will be asking them how it worked out, betting on a home run, so stay tuned.
The BofA proxy statement was especially well laid out and inviting - with many simple charts that illustrated the most important performance metrics (like TSR and their performance on their top-four strategic goals) and governance metrics (like key stats on director composition, experience and diversity; on shareholder outreach and engagement - like to the top 100 holders with over 50% of shares o/s, percentage of in-person meetings (34%) and board participation (which covered 24% of shares o/s) - all pretty much at a glance…This is really worth a careful look! And wow, they had 13 glossy pages of interviews in the AR with the CEO, the Lead Independent Director, some customers and product managers - all of which were actually worth reading!
The frosting on the cake was a 6-page glossy brochure proclaiming that “Our Environmental, Social and Governance leadership is central to our responsible growth strategy and is delivering long-term value to our shareholders” - full of supporting facts and figures. Wouldn’t it be great if every public company thought and acted like this?
Another really innovative piece came from GE - telling us that while all their materials would be distributed via internet “to some of our shareholders, including you” - we would be “getting a paper copy of their integrated summary report [that] combines in one concise document the most critical information from our annual report, proxy statement and sustainability website”… AND…“to make it easier for you to vote you will receive a proxy card or voting instruction form.”
Three cheers! At long last…someone is actually getting it - and giving us what we need in order to vote…instead of those useless “Notices” that we rip up unopened when we are ‘stratified out’ of receiving hard copies, as we still have to demand, thanks to the lousy job that the majority of N&A users do of loading materials in a user-friendly way.