TRY­ING AGAIN

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

At a re­cent meet­ing of the em­bat­tled and un­der­staffed U.S. Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion, SEC Chair­man Mary L. Schapiro drew at­ten­tion to a state­ment is­sued by the SEC that, at first blush, ap­pears trig­gered by this past year’s mar­ket cri­sis and re­sult­ing fragility of in­vestor con­fi­dence.

Think again. The SEC is­sued the state­ment on April 28, 1977. It reads:

“Re­cent dis­clo­sures con­cern­ing a wide va­ri­ety of ques­tion­able and il­le­gal cor­po­rate prac­tices, ac­com­plished in cer­tain in­stances with the knowl­edge and par­tic­i­pa­tion of top cor­po­rate man­age­ment, have served to fo­cus pub­lic at­ten­tion on the sub­ject of cor­po­rate ac­count­abil­ity. A num­ber of pro­pos­als de­signed to achieve a new ‘cor­po­rate gov­er­nance’ have been sug­gested, in­clud­ing plac­ing greater em­pha­sis on the role of out­side direc­tors and au­dit com­mit­tees, in­creas­ing fed­eral con­trol over cor­po­rate con­duct through leg­is­la­tion which re­quires fed­eral char­ter­ing or set­ting of min­i­mum stan­dards of cor­po­rate con­duct, and pro­vid­ing mech­a­nisms to as­sure a higher level of man­age­ment ac­count­abil­ity to share­hold­ers through re­vi­sions of the com­mis­sion’s proxy rules.”

Now, as the SEC (ob­vi­ously not for the first time) con­sid­ers changes to fed­eral proxy rules, Ms. Schapiro is hop­ing “with all my heart that, 32 years from now, a fu­ture SEC chair­man is not quot­ing my words, call­ing once again for a new rule fa­cil­i­tat­ing the in­clu­sion of share­holder nom­i­nees in cor­po­rate prox­ies.”

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