I don’t celebrate Easter or Passover, though it is intriguing how far apart the two days are this year. The season that I am talking about is annual reports and proxies. This is just a friendly reminder to say that voting your proxies is something that helps keep capitalism legitimate. Granted, I think that board elections should always be contested, and that access to the proxy should be available to anyone with more than 1% of outstanding shares, but my view is that both amateur and professional investors should take the time to evaluate proxies, vote accordingly for their interests, and not blindly side with management.
I vote down:
- All directors at firms that have lost money for me. (And the auditor!)
- Most options and supplemental pay plans. Pay people cash, not contingent stock that dilutes me. And, most of the officers earn enough already. If you don’t do your job because you love it, you’re not the right person for the job.
- Shareholder proposals limiting executive pay, environmental issues, and other liberal folderol.
I vote up:
- Proposals for greater shareholder democracy.
- Plans to de-classify boards, and eliminate poison pills.
- Proposals to split the Chairman and CEO positions.
If we’re going to be capitalists, let’s exercise our responsibilities, and have our companies act fairly and ethically. When we do that, it helps give capitalism a good name, and maximizesw the benefits in the long run to shareholders.