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SEC Votes to Restrict Shareholder Proxy Access

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission voted 3-1 Wednesday to allow companies to exclude shareholder proposals regarding director nominations from the annual proxy statement.

The rule codifies the agency's long-standing interpretation of its proxy access rules, which was cast into doubt by a 2006 federal appeals court decision.

The SEC commissioners did not vote on a second proxy access proposal that would have given shareholders a way to nominate corporate directors if they owned at least 5 percent of a company's stock and if other conditions were met, such as disclosure requirements.

The agency did, however, pledge to reopen the issue of proxy access in the near future.