Fleishman forges alliance to identify investor concerns

NEW YORK: Fleishman-Hillard and proxy solicitor Georgeson Shareholder are partnering on a corporate-governance initiative designed to help companies identify corporate-governance issues that could influence their institutional shareholders' investment decisions and proxy-voting decisions.

NEW YORK: Fleishman-Hillard and proxy solicitor Georgeson Shareholder are partnering on a corporate-governance initiative designed to help companies identify corporate-governance issues that could influence their institutional shareholders' investment decisions and proxy-voting decisions.

The initiative is called Corporate Governance Intelligence (CGI), and will use an analysis of a company's corporate-governance and institutional-shareholder base perception to target potential problems before they arise.

CGI is being launched ahead of the 2003 proxy-solicitation and annual-meeting season, scheduled to begin in earnest over the next several months.

Many experts feel that depressed stock prices, a revived interest in corporate-governance procedures, and an unprecedented year of corporate scandals may result in an unusually high number of proxy fights.

CGI is designed to leverage the quantitative analysis that Georgeson does of institutional-shareholder voting patterns with Fleishman's qualitative analysis of shareholders' current perceptions.

The firms feel that companies need to be more proactive about uncovering the perceptions and proxy-voting predilections encountered by their institutional shareholder bases.

"The most important audience that has a say in these issues of corporate governance is the institutional investors," said Rick Anderson, SVP and partner at Fleishman. "While they are to a large extent being overlooked, they are the ones who are going to pull the trigger and vote yea or nay on these critical issues of corporate governance."

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