Americans for Tax Reform today launched the Shareholder Advocacy Forum, a project to preserve the long-term interests of shareholders and counter the rise of activist shareholder proposals that often force a company into a stance on an unrelated social policy. The Shareholder Advocacy Forum’s goal is to protect all shareholders’ interests and to maximize their return on investment, including pension fund beneficiaries and small shareholders who rely on the continued growth of these investments for their retirement planning.
SAF will also examine the role proxy advisor firms play in providing recommendations to shareholders. These supposed conflict-of-interest-free organizations have been cited as a reason for the chilling effect in the IPO market. Existing public companies have seen these firms become more activist in nature when providing recommendations and the role their recommendations have had in undermining the long-term interests of company’s shareholders. SAF plans to hold directors and executives accountable when they place the social agenda of some ahead of their fiduciary duty to all shareholders.
SAF will also be a voice at the table to provide support for legislative and regulatory proposals and serve as an educational platform to emphasize why it is important for shareholders to continue participating in the voting process. In addition, SAF will maintain that decisions of private institutions and shareholders should be respected and protected from government intrusion, including instances of shareholders supporting mergers and acquisitions.
SAF will publish recommendations on shareholder proposals, highlights from recently published research, and letters supporting and opposing legislation. James Setterlund will serve as the Executive Director of SAF.