SEC: Nominal Thresholds Empower the Small Shareholder

The Securities and Exchange Commission last revised the requirement as to how many shares must be held by a proponent in 1998. At that time the Commission made it clear that increasing the threshold above $2000 held for a year would be detrimental to key participants in the process - the smaller shareholders empowered by the rule:

[W]e are increasing the dollar value of a company‘s voting shares that a shareholder must own in order to be eligible to submit a shareholder proposal ­­ from $1,000 to $2,000 ­­ to adjust for the effects of inflation since the rule was last revised. There was little opposition to the proposed increase among commenters, although several do not believe the increase is great enough to be meaningful, especially in light of the overall increase in stock prices over the last few years. Nonetheless, we have decided to limit the increase to $2,000 for now, in light of rule 14a­8’s goal of providing an avenue of communication for small investors. There was no significant support for any modifications to the rule’s other eligibility criteria, such as the one ­year continuous ownership requirement.