View Whole SectionText only Print Print Manager Link
Previous Next
  Versions
(2 versions)
 
Feb 15 2010 - Dec 31 2013Jan 1 2014 onwards

2251. Processing and Forwarding of Proxy and Other Issuer-Related Materials

(a) A member shall process and forward promptly all information as required by this Rule and applicable SEC rules regarding a security to the beneficial owner (or the beneficial owner's designated investment adviser) if the member carries the account in which the security is held for the beneficial owner and the security is registered in a name other than the name of the beneficial owner.
(1) Equity Securities
For an equity security, the member, subject to paragraph (e) of this Rule and applicable SEC rules, shall process and forward:
(A) all proxy material, as provided in paragraph (c) of this Rule, that is furnished to the member by the issuer of the securities or a stockholder of such issuer; and
(B) all annual reports, information statements and other material sent to stockholders that are furnished to the member by the issuer of the securities.
(2) Debt Securities
For a debt security other than a municipal security, the member, subject to paragraph (e) of this Rule and applicable SEC rules, shall make reasonable efforts to process and forward any communication, document, or collection of documents pertaining to the issue that:
(A) was prepared by or on behalf of, the issuer, or was prepared by or on behalf of, the trustee of the specific issue of the security; and
(B) contains material information about such issue including, but not limited to, notices concerning monetary or technical defaults, financial reports, information statements, and material event notices.
(b) No member shall give a proxy to vote stock that is registered in its name, except as required or permitted under the provisions of paragraphs (c) or (d) of this Rule, unless such member is the beneficial owner of such stock.
(c)(1) Whenever an issuer or stockholder of such issuer soliciting proxies shall, subject to paragraph (e) of this Rule and applicable SEC rules, timely furnish to a member:
(A) sufficient copies of all soliciting material that such person is sending to registered holders, and
(B) satisfactory assurance that he or she will reimburse such member for all out-of-pocket expenses, including reasonable clerical expenses incurred by such member in connection with such solicitation, such member shall process and transmit promptly to each beneficial owner of stock of such issuer (or the beneficial owner's designated investment adviser) that is in its possession or control and registered in a name other than the name of the beneficial owner, all such material furnished. Such material shall include a signed proxy indicating the number of shares held for such beneficial owner and bearing a symbol identifying the proxy with proxy records maintained by the member, and a letter informing the beneficial owner (or the beneficial owner's designated investment adviser) of the time limit and necessity for completing the proxy form and processing and forwarding it to the person soliciting proxies prior to the expiration of the time limit in order for the shares to be represented at the meeting. A member shall furnish a copy of the symbols to the person soliciting the proxies and shall also retain a copy thereof pursuant to the provisions of SEA Rule 17a-4.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (c)(1) of this Rule, a member may give a proxy to vote any stock pursuant to the rules of any national securities exchange of which it is a member provided that the records of the member clearly indicate the procedure it is following.
(3) This paragraph (c) shall not apply to beneficial owners residing outside of the United States, although members may voluntarily comply with the provisions hereof in respect to such persons if they so desire.
(d)(1) A member may give a proxy to vote any stock registered in its name if such member holds such stock as executor, administrator, guardian, trustee, or in a similar representative or fiduciary capacity with authority to vote.
(2) A member that has in its possession or within its control stock registered in the name of another member and that desires to process and transmit signed proxies pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (c) of this Rule, shall obtain the requisite number of signed proxies from such holder of record.
(3) Notwithstanding the foregoing,
(A) any member designated by a named Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (as amended) ("ERISA") Plan fiduciary as the investment manager of stock held as assets of the ERISA Plan may vote the proxies in accordance with the ERISA Plan fiduciary responsibilities if the ERISA Plan expressly grants discretion to the investment manager to manage, acquire, or dispose of any plan asset and has not expressly reserved the proxy voting right for the named ERISA Plan fiduciary; and
(B) any designated investment adviser may vote such proxies.
(e)(1) As required in paragraph (a) of this Rule, a member must process and forward promptly the material set forth in paragraph (a)(1), in connection with an equity security, or must make reasonable efforts to process and forward promptly the material set forth in paragraph (a)(2), in connection with a debt security, provided that the member:
(A) is furnished with sufficient copies of the material (e.g., annual reports, information statements or other material sent to security holders) by the issuer, stockholder, or trustee;
(B) is requested by the issuer, stockholder, or trustee to process and forward the material to security holders; and,
(C) receives satisfactory assurance that it will be reimbursed, consistent with Rule 2251.01 and applicable SEC rules, by such issuer, stockholder, or trustee for all out-of-pocket expenses, including reasonable clerical expenses.
(2) This paragraph (e) shall not apply to beneficial owners residing outside of the United States although members may voluntarily comply with the provisions hereof in respect to such persons if they so desire.
(f) For purposes of this Rule, the term "designated investment adviser" is a person registered under the Investment Advisers Act, or registered as an investment adviser under the laws of a state, who exercises investment discretion pursuant to an advisory contract for the beneficial owner and is designated in writing by the beneficial owner to receive proxy and related materials and vote the proxy, and to receive annual reports and other material sent to security holders.
(1) For purposes of this Rule, the term "state" shall have the meaning given to such term in Section 202(a)(19) of the Investment Advisers Act (as the same may be amended from time to time).
(2) The written designation must be signed by the beneficial owner; be addressed to the member; and include the name of the designated investment adviser.
(3) Members that receive such a written designation from a beneficial owner must ensure that the designated investment adviser is registered with the SEC pursuant to the Investment Advisers Act, or with a state as an investment adviser under the laws of such state, and that the investment adviser is exercising investment discretion over the customer's account pursuant to an advisory contract to vote proxies and/or to receive proxy soliciting material, annual reports and other material. Members must keep records substantiating this information.
(4) Beneficial owners have an unqualified right at any time to rescind designation of the investment adviser to receive materials and to vote proxies. The rescission must be in writing and submitted to the member.
(g) The Board of Governors for the guidance of members is authorized to establish a suggested rate of reimbursement of members for expenses incurred in connection with processing and transmitting the proxy solicitation to the beneficial owners of the securities pursuant to paragraph (c) of this Rule or in processing and transmitting information statements or other material to the beneficial owners of securities pursuant to paragraph (e) of this Rule.

• • • Supplementary Material: ------------------

.01 Approved Rates of Reimbursement

(a) The following approved rates of reimbursement for expenses incurred in processing and forwarding proxy material, annual reports, information statements and other material shall be considered reasonable rates of reimbursement. In addition to the charges specified in this Supplementary Material, members also are entitled to receive reimbursement for: (1) actual postage costs (including return postage at the lowest available rate); (2) the actual cost of envelopes (provided they are not furnished by the issuer, the trustee, or a person soliciting proxies); and (3) any actual communication expenses (excluding overhead) incurred in receiving voting returns either telephonically or electronically.
(1) Basic Processing and Intermediary Unit Fees
(A) Definitions: For purposes of this Supplementary Material:
(i) the term "nominee" shall mean a broker or bank subject to SEA Rule 14b-1 or Rule 14b-2, respectively;
(ii) the term "intermediary" shall mean a proxy service provider that coordinates the distribution of proxy or other materials for multiple nominees.
(B)
(i) For each set of proxy material, i.e., proxy statement, form of proxy and annual report when processed as a unit, a Processing Unit Fee based on the following schedule according to the number of nominee accounts through which the issuer's securities are beneficially owned:
a. 50 cents for each account up to 10,000 accounts;
b. 47 cents for each account above 10,000 accounts, up to 100,000 accounts;
c. 39 cents for each account above 100,000 accounts, up to 300,000 accounts;
d. 34 cents for each account above 300,000 accounts, up to 500,000 accounts;
e. 32 cents for each account above 500,000 accounts.
To clarify, under this schedule, a member may charge the issuer the tier one rate for the first 10,000 accounts, or portion thereof, with decreasing rates applicable only on additional accounts in the additional tiers. References in this Supplementary Material to the number of accounts means the number of accounts holding securities of the issuer at any nominee that is providing distribution services without the services of an intermediary, or when an intermediary is involved, the aggregate number of nominee accounts with beneficial ownership in the issuer served by the intermediary.
(ii) In the case of a meeting for which an opposition proxy has been furnished to security holders, the Processing Unit Fee shall be $1.00 per account, in lieu of the fees in the above schedule.
(C) The following are supplemental fees for intermediaries:
(i) $22.00 for each nominee served by the intermediary that has at least one account beneficially owning shares in the issuer;
(ii) an Intermediary Unit Fee for each set of proxy material, based on the following schedule according to the number of nominee accounts through which the issuer's securities are beneficially owned:
a. 14 cents for each account up to 10,000 accounts;
b. 13 cents for each account above 10,000 accounts, up to 100,000 accounts;
c. 11 cents for each account above 100,000 accounts, up to 300,000 accounts;
d. 9 cents for each account above 300,000 accounts, up to 500,000 accounts;
e. 7 cents for each account above 500,000 accounts.
To clarify, under this schedule, a member may charge the issuer the tier one rate for the first 10,000 accounts, or portion thereof, with decreasing rates applicable only on additional accounts in the additional tiers.
(iii) For special meetings, the Intermediary Unit Fee shall be based on the following schedule, in lieu of the fees described in (ii) above:
a. 19 cents for each account up to 10,000 accounts;
b. 18 cents for each account above 10,000 accounts, up to 100,000 accounts;
c. 16 cents for each account above 100,000 accounts, up to 300,000 accounts;
d. 14 cents for each account above 300,000 accounts, up to 500,000 accounts;
e. 12 cents for each account above 500,000 accounts.
To clarify, under this schedule, a member may charge the issuer the tier one rate for the first 10,000 accounts, or portion thereof, with decreasing rates applicable only on additional accounts in the additional tiers. For purposes of this paragraph, a special meeting is a meeting other than the issuer's meeting for the election of directors.
(iv) In the case of a meeting for which an opposition proxy has been furnished to security holders, the Intermediary Unit Fee shall be 25 cents per account, with a minimum fee of $5,000.00 per soliciting entity, in lieu of the fees described in (ii) or (iii) above, as the case may be. Where there are separate solicitations by management and an opponent, the opponent is to be separately billed for the costs of its solicitation.
(2) Charges for Proxy Follow-Up Material
For each set of follow-up material, a Processing Unit Fee of 40 cents per account, except for those relating to an issuer's annual meeting for the election of directors, for which the Processing Unit Fee shall be 20 cents per account.
(3) Charge for Providing Beneficial Ownership Information
Six and one-half cents per name of non-objecting beneficial owner ("NOBO") provided to the issuer pursuant to the issuer's request. Where the non-objecting beneficial ownership information is not furnished directly to the issuer by the member, but is furnished through an agent designated by the member, the issuer will be expected to pay in addition the following fee to the agent:
(A) 10 cents per name for the first 10,000 names or portion thereof;
(B) 5 cents per name for additional names up to 100,000 names; and
(C) 4 cents per name above 100,000;
with a minimum fee of $100 per requested list.
Any member that designates an agent for the purpose of furnishing requesting issuers with beneficial ownership information pursuant to SEA Rule 14b-1(c) and thereafter cancels that designation or appoints a new agent for such purpose should promptly inform interested issuers.
When an issuer requests beneficial ownership information as of a date which is the record date for an annual or special meeting or a solicitation of written shareholder consent, the issuer may ask to eliminate names holding more or less than a specified number of shares, or names of shareholders that have already voted, and the issuer may not be charged a fee for the NOBO names so eliminated. In all other cases the issuer may be charged for all the names in the NOBO list.
(4) Charges for Interim Report, Post Meeting Report and Other Material
For interim reports, annual reports if processed separately, post meeting reports, or other material, a Processing Unit Fee of 15 cents per account.
(5) Preference Management Fees
With respect to each account for which the nominee has eliminated the need to send materials in paper format through the mails (or by courier service), a Preference Management Fee in the following amount:
(A) For each set of proxy material described in paragraph (a)(1)(B) of this Supplementary Material, 32 cents; provided, however, that if the account is a Managed Account (as defined in paragraph (a)(7) of this Supplementary Material), the Preference Management Fee shall be 16 cents.
(B) For each set of material described in either paragraph (a)(2) or paragraph (a)(4) of this Supplementary Material, the Preference Management Fee shall be 10 cents.
To clarify, the Preference Management Fee is in addition to, and not in lieu of, the other fees provided for in this Supplemetary Material.
(6) Notice and Access Fees
When an issuer elects to utilize Notice and Access for a proxy distribution, there is an incremental fee based on all nominee accounts through which the issuer's securities are beneficially owned as follows:
(A) 25 cents for each account up to 10,000 accounts;
(B) 20 cents for each account over 10,000 accounts, up to 100,000 accounts;
(C) 15 cents for each account over 100,000 accounts, up to 200,000 accounts;
(D) 10 cents for each account over 200,000 accounts, up to 500,000 accounts;
(E) 5 cents for each account over 500,000 accounts.
To clarify, under this schedule, a member may charge the issuer the tier one rate for the first 10,000 accounts, or portion thereof, with decreasing rates applicable only on additional accounts in the additional tiers.
Follow up notices will not incur an incremental fee for Notice and Access.
No incremental fee will be imposed for fulfillment transactions (i.e., a full package sent to a notice recipient at the recipient's request), although out of pocket costs such as postage will be passed on as in ordinary distributions.
(7) Fee Exclusion in Certain Circumstances
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Supplementary Material, no fee shall be imposed for a nominee account that is a Managed Account (as hereinafter defined) and contains five or fewer shares or units of the security involved.
For purposes of this Supplementary Material, the term "Managed Account" shall mean an account at a nominee which is invested in a portfolio of securities selected by a professional adviser, and for which the account holder is charged a separate asset-based fee for a range of services which may include ongoing advice, custody and execution services. The adviser can be either employed by or affiliated with the nominee, or a separate investment advisor contracted for the purpose of selecting investment portfolios for the managed account. Requiring that investments or changes to the account be approved by the client shall not preclude an account from being a "Managed Account," nor shall the fact that commissions or transaction-based charges are imposed in addition to the asset-based fee.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Supplementary Material, no fee shall be imposed for any nominee account which contains only a fractional share, i.e., less than one share or unit of the security involved.
(8) Enhanced Brokers' Internet Platform Fee
During the period ending December 31, 2018, there shall be a supplemental fee of 99 cents for each new account that elects, and each full package recipient among a brokerage firm's accounts that converts to, electronic delivery while having access to an Enhanced Brokers' Internet Platform ("EBIP"). This fee does not apply to electronic delivery consents captured by issuers (for example, through an open-enrollment program), nor to positions held in Managed Accounts (as defined in paragraph (a)(7) of this Supplementary Material) nor to accounts voted by investment managers using electronic voting platforms. This is a one-time fee, meaning that an issuer may be billed this fee by a particular member only once for each account covered by this Rule. Billing for this fee should be separately indicated on the issuer's invoice and must await the next proxy or consent solicitation by the issuer that follows the triggering election of electronic delivery by an eligible account. Accounts receiving a notice pursuant to the use of notice and access by the issuer, and accounts to which mailing is suppressed by householding, will not trigger the fee under this Supplementary Material.
To qualify under this Supplementary Material, an EBIP must provide notices of upcoming corporate votes (including record and shareholder meeting dates) and the ability to access proxy materials and a voting instruction form, and cast the vote, through the investor's account page on the member's website without an additional log-in.
Any member that is not also a member of the NYSE with a qualifying EBIP must provide notice thereof to FINRA, including the date such EBIP became operational, and any limitations on the availability of the EBIP to its customers.
Conversions to electronic delivery by accounts with access to an EBIP need to be tracked for the purpose of reporting the activity to FINRA when requested, as do records of marketing efforts to encourage account holders to use the EBIP. In addition, records need to be maintained and reported to FINRA when requested regarding the proportion of non-institutional accounts that vote proxies after being provided access to an EBIP.
(b) Any charges for forwarding pursuant to this Supplementary Material must be reasonable. Members may request reimbursement of expenses at less than the approved rates; however, no member may seek reimbursement at rates higher than the approved rates or for items or services not specifically enumerated in paragraph (a) of this Supplementary Material without the prior notification to and consent of the person soliciting proxies or the company.
(c) For purposes of this Rule, members are not required to process and transmit more than one annual report, interim report, proxy statement or other material to beneficial owners with more than one account (including trust accounts). In addition, members may eliminate multiple transmissions of reports, statements or other materials to beneficial owners having the same address, provided they comply with SEA Rule 14b-1 and other applicable SEC rules.

.02 Investment Adviser Registration. For purposes of this Rule, members may verify registration of an investment adviser through the use of the Investment Adviser Registration Depository ("IARD").

Amended by SR-FINRA-2013-056 eff. Jan. 1, 2014.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2010-002 eff. Feb. 15, 2010.
Amended by SR-FINRA-2009-066 eff. Feb. 15, 2010.
Amended by SR-NASD-2002-124 eff. June 16 2003.
Amended by SR-NASD-2003-19 eff. Feb 12, 2003.
Amended by SR-NASD-2002-11 eff. July 9, 2002.
Amended by SR-NASD-95-06 eff. May 5, 1995.
Amended by SR-NASD-91-20 eff. Sept. 14, 1991.
Amended by SR-NASD-86-10 eff. May 30, 1986; Aug, 7, 1991.
Amended by SR-NASD-86-09 eff. Apr. 29, 1986.
Amended by SR-NASD-85-07 eff. April 1, 1985.
Amended eff. Mar. 31, 1974; May 1, 1980.
Adopted eff. Jan. 2, 1969.

Selected Notices: 85-26, 86-35, 86-46, 91-57, 92-17, 95-45, 02-33, 03-26, 09-72, 14-03.

Previous Next