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E*Trade Advocates Paperless Proxy Statements

| Monday May 25th, 2009 | 1 Comment

e-trade-logo.jpgAlthough my meager investments have taken a nose dive lately (whose haven’t?), there’s one extra detail that still consistently bugs me – huge 100-page proxy statements sent to shareholders which are invariably tossed in the trash (yeah, maybe a few people recycle them). Even if I thought my voice amounted to much, the last thing I need is another tome in the mail – recycled or not. The idea of being able to vote for something meaningful with my shares matters – a lot. So why is it difficult to vote for an elimination of paper documents to make this happen?
Well, today I got an impressive piece of mail from E*Trade, my primary broker, remarkably smaller than usual in weight, urging me to “make a positive impact on my investment … while reducing the negative impact on the environment.” I took the time to open it and read the fine print, offering me an online way to vote for the board of directors of one of my many poor-performing holdings while sparing me the need to fly to god-knows-where to cast my vote in person. Most interestingly, however, once I logged in, I was quickly offered a chance to decline all paper statements from the company, be they resolutions, proxy statements, or anything else.
Now, that’s not only great news for the planet, it’s great news for the company bottom line, and it actually makes me think my vote might matter – if for no other reason than it makes it that much more visible to me. Haven’t we crossed the threshold wherein paperless communication should be the default, rather than the opt-in? My wounded investments say yes, and I say thanks E*Trade for helping me get there.


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  • Interested party

    Several brokerage companies have already gone paperless for voting proxies.