ISS and the Council of Institutional Investors are pushing back against the Corporate Governance Reform and Transparency Act (H.R. 4015) with a new public relations campaign and website, ProtectShareholders.org. The campaign encourages visitors to "Vote No on H.R. 4015" and accuses "Washington lobbyists representing corporate interests" of "misleading lawmakers" into weakening governance controls and silencing investor voices. With a plethora of blog posts and articles purporting to show that "the proxy advisor system works," the site seeks to convince lawmakers and voters that proxy advisors are in fact a highly regulated, responsible and necessary part of the investment process and that accusations of conflicts of interest or one-size-fits-all methodology are simply myths.
ISS also proclaims that "61% of voters oppose H.R. 4015," a statistic that does not seem fully validated by the survey data, which resulted from an online survey commissioned by ISS of 1975 registered voters. The detail behind the survey findings shows that 21% of voters support H.R. 4015 while 32% oppose it, while 24% neither support nor oppose and 24% don't know or don't care - the 61% statistic ignores the last two categories and represents only those who expressed a clear opinion.
The website was created as the SEC has announced a November 15 public roundtable discussion on issues related to proxy disclosure, likely including discussions regarding proxy advisory firm oversight and shareholder proposal reform.
Interestingly, Glass Lewis does not seem to have signed onto the campaign, which is fully funded and managed by ISS.