Shareholders don’t usually vote in person at any given annual meeting, so how can activists use the new Universal Proxy Cards (UPC) to maximize the impact of the proxy contest to their advantage? Previous to the UPC, cross voting was rather difficult to do. Both dissident and management parties would send their distinctive ballots to the shareholder in an effort to win their last ballot vote, the only vote that held validity. For this reason, shareholders would receive multiple ballots from both sides in case the shareholder could be persuaded to change their mind leading up to the annual meeting. Essentially, UPC’s intend to eliminate the confusion that the previous two ballot system brought along with its use. With the UPC regulation and cross ballot formatting, shareholders will have the option to mix and choose from both management and dissident candidates on one singular ballot, instead of limiting the shareholder to the traditional two ballot structure. This ability to vote for both types of candidates will bring about a momentous shift, resulting in a striking change in strategy and in the way that proxy contests will be carried out. Additionally, with the option of UPC’s comes the potential of less spending. Costs for activists are expected to be alleviated in terms of mailing fees and proxy material. Companies will be obligated to send the ballot out to shareholders if required by activists to use UPC’s. This in turn may encourage a pool of smaller funds to participate in proxy contests. UPC’s have been taken into effect since September 1st, 2022. How will they be used in proxy season 2023? Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay updated on the everchanging proxy voting news and regulations!