First CSCS Shareholder Democracy Summit a resounding success

TORONTO, Nov. 23, 2011 /CNW/ - The Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries ("CSCS") and the CSCS Shareholder Democracy Summit organizing committee, announced plans for the continuing work to improve Canadian shareholder democracy processes, namely the whole proxy-voting system at general annual meetings.

David Masse, CSCS Chairman of the Board and Chair of the CSCS Shareholder Democracy Summit organizing committee said that "by any measure, the objective of the Summit to gather key participants, representing major stakeholders, to discuss openly and share information about shareholder democracy was met."

Delegates representing the most important players with a stake in shareholder democracy met in Toronto for the Summit at the end of October.  Participants included the Toronto Stock Exchange, federal and provincial regulators, service providers to issuers and institutional shareholders and key industry organizations including the Canadian Stock Transfer Association, the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance, the Canadian Investor Relations Institute, as well as US and international experts on American, European and Australian shareholder democracy processes.

Mr. Masse added that the most important outcome of the Summit, that far exceeded the Society's expectations, was the clear willingness and commitment expressed by all participants to work towards a robust solution.

Lynn Beauregard, CSCS President, set out the organizing committee's 2012 work plan:

  • Publishing the materials gathered to date with an expert analysis by the organizing committee of the lessons learned.
  • Mapping the work to be done, setting achievable objectives, milestones, and the conditions for success that will lead the project to improve shareholder democracy in Canada to fruition.
  • Organizing an additional session (Summit 1.01) to take place in 2012 to elicit the views and concerns of investment managers, pension funds, mutual funds complexesand investment dealers.
  • Setting up stakeholder working committees to map the current voting processes in sufficient detail, to seek improvements by re-thinking the processes, and to define more efficient information flows.
  • Convening symposium of experts and stakeholders focusing narrowly on OBO - NOBO status to consider the role it currently plays, the challenges it poses for voting processes, and possible policy alternatives.
  • Publishing findings, sharing information and seeking comments on the part of stakeholders as the work progresses.

Lynn Beauregard went on to add that "this work program will be aimed squarely at the second installment of the Summit.  It is too early to speculate on the shape of that series of plenary sessions, but it is safe to say that the purpose will be focused on potential alternative solutions that will have emerged from the continuing work."

Mr. Masse expressed his appreciation to all Summit participants for their important contribution, and noted that the Society will be counting on them to lend their personal support, and that of their organizations, to this important work.  In that regard he said that "we are confident that together we will craft a Canadian approach to shareholder democracy that will elevate corporate governance for all Canadians, and serve as an example to be emulated abroad."

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About the Shareholder Democracy Summit
CSCS initiated a national project to improve shareholder democracy processes in Canada.  The inaugural Shareholder Democracy Summit was held in Toronto on October 24 and 25, 2011.  Information on the Summit conference and the objective to reform the shareholder democracy process in Canada is available on the CSCS website at www.cscs.org/summit.

About CSCS
The Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries is the voice of governance professionals in Canada. We provide our members with networking opportunities, information resources, annual and ongoing professional development options, advocacy and strategic alliances to support their critical role in the governance of their organizations.


SOURCE Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries

For further information:

Pamela Smith
Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries
t. (416) 921-5449, ext.. 303
e. pamela.smith@cscs.org
w. www.cscs.org

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