Shareholders Push Banks on Abstention Votes

Financial Times reports:

Three of the biggest banks on Wall Street are under fire from investors over their inconsistent treatment of abstentions in votes at annual meetings — a system that critics claim entrenches management while setting shareholders up for failure.

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase each received proposals from shareholders asking the board to amend bylaws so that all non-binding matters presented by shareholders be decided by a simple majority of votes cast. At the moment, the shareholders argue, investors are disadvantaged because abstentions to shareholder-sponsored items are treated as votes against — but not when tallying votes to elect directors, where abstentions are ignored and a simple majority applies.

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