It is has become a best practice for companies to engage with shareholders during the proxy “off-season”—the middle of the third quarter through the end of the fourth quarter. This is an excellent opportunity for companies to tell investors their story.
At the height of proxy season, proxy voters and governance staffs of major institutional investors are focused on voting their thousands of proxies accurately and fielding calls from companies hoping to sway votes. Many institutional investors have policies of refusing those calls during their busy season. The off‑season, however, is an opportunity for companies to make their case to investors with their undivided attention. Companies can also use this time to get a sense of how key investors will view issues on upcoming proxies and test their reactions. Thus, it is advisable for boards to ensure that management has a robust plan for engaging with key shareholders in the off season. One issue always at the top of shareholders’ engagement wish list is executive compensation.