New Legislation Would Leave Shareholders Little to Complain About

Lora Bentley

Earlier this week I wrote about the Shareholders' Bill of Rights Act, sponsored by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), which is currently under consideration. Noticing that The Corporate Library's Nell Minow was on record as supporting the measure, I decided to see what The Corporate Library had to say about it.


Though representatives were unavailable to comment Tuesday, they did point me to the blog for insight into the organization's position on the issues. Senior Research Associate Paul Hodgson makes a good point:

If Sen. Charles Schumer's bill is passed, shareholders are going to have to come up with a whole new set of proposals... In fact, the only thing that will be left for shareholders to do is, well, vote...


Hodgson also points to a similar bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Shareholder Empowerment Act, sponsored by Rep. Gary C. Peters (D-Mich.). The legislation, according to Peters' Web site,

would make common sense changes to corporate election rules, executive compensation and other practices to encourage accountability to investors and protect against reckless risk-taking.


With both Houses of Congress, the Obama Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission lining up on the same side in this fight, Hodgson says, corporate shareholders are going to be hard-pressed to complain about anything if these measures pass. In theory, happy shareholders should mean happy boards, which should, in turn, mean less stress for employees.


Time will tell.

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