Securities and Exchange Commission Grants Stay of Proxy Access Rules

On October 4, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") granted a stay of the new proxy access rules that are intended to allow certain shareholders to: (1) nominate directors and have those nominations included in corporate proxy materials; and (2) propose amendments to corporate procedural requirements for shareholder director nominations.  The proxy access rules, adopted in August, had been scheduled to go into effect on November 15, 2010.  A request for a stay was filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable after these organizations sought judicial review of the rules before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

At the time the SEC announced that it was exercising its discretion to issue the stay, SEC spokesman John Nester stated that, because the business groups had sought expedited judicial review, "it is our expectation that the legal issues will be resolved by late spring."  Even assuming that the rules are upheld, given the time that will likely be required for judicial review, it is unlikely that the new rules will be a significant factor in the upcoming proxy season. 

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