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Not surprisingly, the next proxy season threatens to be more tumultuous than usual–but not entirely for the reason one might assume. While the subprime credit crunch dominates headlines, it is unlikely to be the cause c?(C)l??bre in 2008 proxy votes–except at high-profile losers in financial services and homebuilding. The exclusion of the topic from proxies is mostly thanks to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s no-action process, which allows companies to bar issues outside the company’s ordinary areas of business. As a result, a slew of corporations outside of mortgage lending have nixed proposals related to subprime-related exposures and investing practices. “As bizarre as it sounds, the issue that is top of mind for investors right now won’t be on many ballots,” says Patrick McGurn, special counsel to the ISS governance unit of RiskMetrics Group in New York. “Next year may be a different matter.”

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