It is becoming clear that one of the SEC’s newest commissioners, Luis Aguilar, is no shrinking violet. You may remember his strong dissent in December against making XBRL reporting mandatory for US filers.
He is starting to wade in on other thorny, unsettled topics. At an ‘SEC speaks’ conference last week, Aguilar said he would be strongly in favor of quickly giving shareholders access to the proxy. It has been an issue before the commission on and off since the 1940s, and a holy grail for the good-governance set.
What’s more, Aguilar, a securities lawyer and former general counsel of Invesco, among other titles, said he thinks the oft-proposed 5 percent ownership threshold for the right to nominate directors may be too high, especially for large-cap companies.
The commissioner is also troubled by lack of shareholder participation under e-proxy. The dire retail investor voting statistics mean ‘we need to fix e-proxy or scrap it,’ he said.
Aguilar told his own story of coming to America as a six-year-old refugee from Cuba and living here for four years without his parents. ‘My experiences are different from my fellow commissioners…[and give] me a profound respect for how hard people work for their money’ and ‘the need to be vigilant’ in protecting it, he said.