Electronic Proxy Voting Increasing

Companies saved $522 mln this proxy season via electronic delivery, voting, Broadridge says.

More public companies see value in electronic delivery of proxy materials and electronic voting, according to annual statistics from Broadridge, a technology services company that provides proxy services for investors who own shares through brokerage firms.

In fact, Broadridge, which handles 90% of proxy activity for shares held in street name, estimates that its technology saved corporate issuers more than $522 million this proxy season by reducing printing and mailing costs for proxy materials—which cost an average of around $5.80 per package—and helping companies consolidate the materials they do mail.

The average quorum at meetings between March 1 and June 1  was 82.7%. New rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission led to a decrease in broker votes, but Broadridge statistics show a greater percentage of votes were cast with shareholders’ instructions this proxy season—67.9%, up slightly from 67.2%. Broker voting accounted for only 14.8% of that 82.7% average quorum.

Twice as many shares were voted using Broadridge’s Internet platform than using paper voting forms, and users cast four times as many votes using its mobile platform this proxy season as in 2011. Broadridge eliminated 60% of its physical mailings, up from 57% last year.

“There’s been a significant and ongoing effort of digital conversion for the purposes of proxy voting that’s unmatched anywhere in any other proxy system,” says Chuck Callan, senior vice president of regulatory affairs at Broadridge.

Many of the shares returned to Broadridge come from ProxyEdge, its electronic platform for institutional investors, but the company’s retail investor platform and telephone voting system also play a part. The company says 95.5% of all its shares returned reflect electronic voting of some kind.

See more Broadridge statistics here.

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