SEC mixes message on Apple shareholder proposals, activists say

From Reuters - January 3, 2018

BOSTON (Reuters) - Apple Inc was allowed to disregard one activist shareholder proposal on greenhouse gas emissions but told to hold a vote on another concerning human rights issues, in closely watched securities rulings that tested new guidance from U.S regulators.

The split decision in December left investor activists with questions about how the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is applying the guidance that Apple (AAPL.O) cited as it sought to skip both proposals.

Its confusing to shareholders, said Christine Jantz, president of a Boston asset management firm, of the SECs reasoning. Jantz submitted the unsuccessful proposal on emissions and said it was similar to one the SEC allowed elsewhere last year.

SEC staff on Nov. 1 gave companies potentially more room to disregard shareholder proposals related to ordinary business, so that investors are not micro-managing executives. Apple quickly cited the new guidance.

An SEC spokeswoman declined to comment on the Apple decisions.

Apple representatives did not immediately comment.

The worlds largest consumer technology company released a proxy filing on Dec. 27 which included the human rights vote. It set its annual shareholder meeting for Feb. 13.


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