Press Releases

Wagner Delivers Remarks at Hearing on Reforming the Proxy Process to Safeguard Investor Interests

Washington, July 13, 2023 -

Today, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, led by Chairman Ann Wagner (MO-02), is holding a hearing entitled "Reforming the Proxy Process to Safeguard Investor Interests."
Watch Chairman Wagner’s opening remarks here.
Read Chairman Wagner’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you for joining us today. This hearing will examine policies that prioritize increased transparency, accountability, and economic analysis in shareholder voting decisions, while also addressing concerns with the outsized influence of proxy advisory firms.
“I am greatly concerned with the Biden Administration’s continued efforts to force non-material environmental, social, and political issues on American companies and investors.
“Prioritizing these ideologically driven regulations drives up the costs and burdens of participating in the U.S. public markets. This, in turn, diminishes the appeal for private companies considering going public or remaining a public company. And fewer publicly traded companies, means fewer investment opportunities for main street investors.
“These increased costs hinder the ability of American public companies to compete on a global scale, putting them at a disadvantage while China’s economic influence continues to grow.
“What’s even more concerning is that these policies end up burdening retail investors, who rely on solid financial returns to save for retirement, purchase a home, and pay for their child’s education. We must remember that the primary purpose of our public markets is to foster economic growth.
“Unfortunately, unrestricted shareholder activism is diverting attention and limited resources from core issues, undermining the attractiveness of U.S. markets and discouraging companies from going public.
“The prioritization of shareholder proposals that deviate from the company’s strategic direction or long-term goals has transformed boardrooms into partisan platforms where fringe political agendas overshadow sound financial management and business strategy.
“For our public markets to remain focused on long-term shareholder value, it is crucial to reform the proxy process to reduce the financial burdens on small and mid-sized companies and minimize distractions for management. By ensuring that shareholder proposals align with the company’s interests and long-term goals, we will promote value creation for all shareholders.
“Today we will also discuss the Biden Administration’s imposition of climate reporting and other requirements that place unnecessary burdens on companies, hindering their ability to grow and compete in a global economy.
“For example, the SEC’s proposed 500-page climate disclosure rule would replace voluntary sustainability reports with mandatory disclosures, including detailed emissions data and climate risk management strategies.
“Congress has not granted the SEC the authority to create regulations that compel companies to disclose general information about ESG-related issues. 
“In fact, Congress repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the current number and complexity of disclosures the SEC requires, and repeatedly urged the agency to simplify them rather than adding to their complexity. Piling on pages of complicated disclosures minimizes their usefulness to main street investors and impedes the ability of younger, smaller companies to compete against large incumbents.
“In light of these challenges, it is crucial that we address these issues with a focus on fostering economic growth, promoting sound financial regulation, and reducing unnecessary burdens on American businesses.
“I look forward to hearing from our esteemed panel of experts today as we delve deeper into these matters in order to safeguard the interests of main street investors.”

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