The Summit was an unprecedented gathering of all the key stakeholders who have a role to play in the regulation and administration of the processes by which the holders of shares of Canadian public companies vote their shares at shareholder meetings.
The current processes do not adequately serve the interests of participants in the Canadian capital markets. The reasons for this are many and varied, and are in large measure due to the unprecedented growth in the volume and complexity of transactions in the capital markets in the recent past.
The Summit process, which is continuing, is a unique and unprecedented opportunity for all stakeholders to gather and share vital information with the objective of improving the voting process to ensure that it can serve appropriately as regulators and public interest groups place increasing importance on shareholder democracy.
The Society has taken upon itself the role of catalyst for the Summit as our members as corporate secretaries and governance professionals witness the dysfunction of the current system first hand and we see the companies we serve and their shareholders suffer the consequences.
What we have learned in organizing the Summit to date is that the simple act of getting the stakeholders in each other’s presence, and sharing information that is presently trapped in silos, affords insights that will allow all the stakeholders to learn how they are able to contribute to improving the existing processes.
The Summit process presents an opportunity to the participants, as Canadians, of developing an efficient modern shareholder democracy process that will be a significant competitive advantage for Canadian capital markets and serve as an example to US, European and Asian markets.
In the course of the Summit, the participants thanked the Society for assuming the leadership role on these issues and all the key stakeholders confirmed their belief that the issues raised by the Summit process were vital issues and that the CSCS should continue to lead the stakeholders towards the development of a renewed, efficient and transparent shareholder rights process.
Here are the interesting things I picked up in my notes. Some are similar to Sylvia's observations. I missed the US panel and some of the international panel because of interviews I was giving to the Canadian media.
As for next steps, we have are reconvening the organizing committee next week to arrive at a consensus, but some things seem fairly obvious:
David MasseChairman of the Board
Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries
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