Company shareholders will be looking to the Internet rather than their mailboxes to receive proxy materials, after the SEC approved final rules for online posting in lieu of individual delivery of the documents. Shareholders will receive a notice by mail or e-mail that proxy documents are available on a Web site. Shareholders who still want to receive a copy of the materials by e-mail or postal mail may do so upon request.
The SEC acknowledged it received comments raising concerns about shareholders being unable to access online materials, security worries and possible effects on proxy voting. But the agency said it relied upon research indicating about 80% of investors have a home Internet connection—more than it initially estimated—and deemed security safeguards adequate. Proxy solicitations for mergers and acquisitions must still be sent individually.