BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sharon Merrill Associates, a leading strategic communications advisory firm, announced that it has launched a strategic service called Proxy GamePlan™. The new service helps clients implement best-in-class, year-round shareholder engagement programs that enhance shareholder and proxy advisor relations, identify risks before they become contested proxy issues and achieve desirable proxy voting results.
Sharon Merrill Associates’ Proxy GamePlan provides management teams and boards of directors with a year-round strategic roadmap for effective shareholder engagement that is grounded in a deep, data-backed understanding of a company’s proxy practices, shareholder voting behavior and peer landscape, and is activated through a series of thoughtful and effective communications channels.
“With shareholder activism still on the rise and institutional investors sharpening their focus on corporate governance issues like board diversity, Proxy Access, environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) reporting, and Say-on-Pay, it is critical that public companies take a proactive approach to shareholder engagement,” said Maureen Wolff, chief executive officer of Sharon Merrill Associates. “Furthermore, recent strong public stances on governance issues from major institutional investors such as BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors reinforce the need for shareholder engagement to be based on a sophisticated understanding of shareholder focus areas and voting trends.”
“Proxy GamePlan helps companies engage with their key stakeholders in a consistent and informed manner with the goal of avoiding unwanted contested proxy situations and improving overall governance practices and relationships.”
With Proxy GamePlan, Sharon Merrill Associates utilizes the predictive power of voting analytics data from Proxy Insight to profile each client’s shareholder base and identify potential proxy risks. This analysis is combined with a thorough company and peer group proxy review to inform the development of a fully integrated shareholder engagement program. Each Proxy GamePlan includes customized recommendations on effective proxy design and communications. The platform is fully customizable to each client’s distinct circumstances and proxy agendas, and can include:
- Company ‘form and function’ analysis
- Shareholder base profiling
- Activism defense review
- Peer group analysis
- Impactful proxy presentation and design review
- Shareholder engagement plan
The new Proxy GamePlan service complements the firm’s 30 years of experience in the areas of investor relations and crisis communications, including its work helping clients communicate environmental, social and governance programs through impactful sustainability reports. This practice is becoming increasingly important as institutions are holding management and boards more accountable for ESG practices and policies. According to Proxy Insight, through May of 2017, institutional investors representing approximately $5.4 trillion in assets under management have implemented voting policy changes related to environmental & social (“E&S”) resolutions.
Wolff concluded, “We look forward to integrating our new Proxy GamePlan service with our existing investor relations offerings to provide clients with a holistic approach to communicating with all key institutional stakeholders – from portfolio managers and analysts to governance contacts.”
About Sharon Merrill Associates, Inc.
Sharon Merrill Associates is a strategic communications advisory firm that provides investor relations, crisis communications, proxy/activist defense, reputation management, corporate communications, and presentation and media training. Founded in 1985 and serving public and private client companies in North America and Europe, the firm plans and executes strategic communications that resonate with stakeholders and deliver results. The team has earned wide recognition for communications thought leadership and is distinguished by its longstanding client relationships. To learn more about Sharon Merrill Associates, please visit its website, www.InvestorRelations.com.