September 25, 2021
ESG and Diversity & Inclusion, Shareholder Viewpoints
Proxy and financial statement design firm Donnelley Financial Solutions (DFIN) released the ninth edition
of its annual "Guide to Effective Proxies", a comprehensive resource designed to "assist organizations in optimizing their shareholder communications" in the current environment of increased shareholder activism and scrutiny of ESG risk.
The 481-page interactive guide includes hundreds of searchable examples from large-company proxies of a wide variety of both commonly used and cutting-edge components of proxy disclosure, such as ESG
, Human Capital Management
, management succession
, and pay for performance
. Clicking on a company disclosure example in the Guide takes the reader directly to the company's proxy to allow readers to understand the context of the disclosure.
The guide also highlights the trend of “humanizing” leadership through the use of design techniques that “draw in the reader,” including branded proxy covers
and use of photos of leadership and board directors. As in previous years, there is also a section on optimizing online versions
of the proxy, since for many companies, 80% or more of shares are held by investors accessing the proxy online. Given the ever-increasing length of proxy disclosures and the large numbers of proxy statements institutional investors are expected to read, an eye-catching, well-organized and clearly structured proxy can produce notable good will with shareholders. The DFIN Guide provides a well-researched and conveniently packaged resource for sample disclosures while planning next year's proxy.