For years, corporate America has unsuccessfully lobbied regulators to crack down on an industry that's known for questioning companies' decisions to enrich top executives and pursue big merger and acquisition (M&A) deals.

Now, with Trump appointees leading the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), business groups are optimistic that they will win some restrictions on so-called proxy-advisory firms.

At issue are companies such as Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis, which mutual funds and other shareholders pay for advice on how to vote in corporate elections. Such polls can decide who sits on boards, shifts in corporate strategy, and how much businesses should focus on social and environmental issues.

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