Regulatory Updates

DOL Proxy Voting and Shareholder Rights Proposed Regulations

Appearing in today’s Federal Register are proposed regulations issued by the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, intended to govern proxy voting and shareholder rights exercised by fiduciaries of ERISA-governed retirement plans. These proposed regulations will amend an existing investment duties regulation that has been in place since 1979. 

(A pre-publication version of these regulations, and links to an EBSA news release and fact sheet, appeared in an Ascensus Industry & Regulatory News announcement on August 31.)

In the EBSA news release, the agency stated that there have been misunderstandings and confusion surrounding proxy voting and shareholder rights issues, and that the proposed regulations have the overall goal of “ensuring plan fiduciaries execute their ERISA duties in an appropriate and cost-efficient manner when exercising shareholder rights.”

Public comments will be accepted for a 30-day period, ending October 5, 2020.