According to NIRI, 29% of investor relations officers surveyed said that they expected their companies to adopt a combination of notice and full set delivery of proxy materials in 2008. 22% plan on using the notice only model (also called the notice and access model in which a company sends a notice to shareholders at least 40 days before its annual meeting of shareholders letting them know that proxy materials are available on a public website other than EDGAR), while only 3% plan on sending a full set of proxy materials to all shareholders. Almost half of those surveyed were still undecided as to how their company’s proxy materials will be delivered this year.
For those companies choosing to blaze the e-proxy path, the following timeline provided by NIRI should prove helpful:
- Immediately – Determine method for proxy material delivery (notice only, full set delivery only or a combination of the two).
- 60-100 days prior to annual meeting – Coordinate proxy delivery plans and important dates with partners, including your IR firm, outside legal counsel, annual report printers, proxy material website builders and proxy solicitors.
- 46+ days prior to annual meeting – Confirm that your proxy website is running properly. Remember that materials must be in both readable and printable format. The website must ensure visitors’ anonymity and be capable of handling heavy traffic.
- 45+ days prior to annual meeting – Deliver notice and access cards to all parties responsible for mailing materials to your shareholders.
- 40+ days prior to annual meeting – Mail notice and access cards to shareholders (as well as printed proxy materials if you are adopting a combination delivery strategy). Remember to file your notice and access card with the SEC.
Some additional NIRI pointers:
- Monitor proxy responses regularly.
- Respond to investor requests for printed materials within three business days.
- Record requests from shareholders who have opted to receive paper materials on a permanent basis.
— Laurie Berman, Senior Vice President, firstname.lastname@example.org