On Monday, Liz blogged on TheCorporateCounsel.net about the new “iconik” app that is intended to encourage users – everyday retail investors – to crowdsource their stockholder voting power. Liz said:
The app’s website includes this “voting agreement & revocable proxy,” along with this summary of what the founders hope to accomplish:
– On iconik, people run campaigns to help make changes at publicly traded companies. Campaigns can be about almost anything, from better corporate governance to increasing share value (and everything in-between).
– Simply purchase shares and delegate your voting rights to the campaign organizer. You will always own the shares, but now those voting rights are going towards something that matters.
She continued by saying “many retail investors today feel like they’re more likely to vote and care about E&S issues. iconik’s CEO was inspired by the meme stock rally, and he’s banking on the possibility that retail investors are willing to sacrifice diversification for influence.” One campaign already launched targets JPMorgan to stop lending to fossil fuel companies.
Don’t forget that earlier this year, SEC Division of Corporation Finance (CorpFin) issued Staff Legal Bulletin (SLB) 14L that, as John Jenkins wrote “effectively takes a sledgehammer to four years of interpretive guidance on the exclusion of ESG-related shareholder proposals from proxy statements. In doing so, the new SLB may open the door for the inclusion of a wide range of previously excludable ESG proposals.”
Wow – if proponents can encourage support for shareholder proposals using phone apps and more proposals are allowable, the 2022 proxy season is looking like it will be a wild ride.