Bill In Congress Would Force One-Share, One-Vote Rule On Exchanges
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Legislation that would force the major stock exchanges to require listed companies to provide all common shareholders with one vote for each share of stock was introduced Tuesday in Congress.
The New York and American stock exchanges and the National Association of Securities Dealers will take up the issue at their July board meetings but could face a Congressional solution if they do not come up with one.
Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, R-N.Y., sponsor of the bill and chairman of the Securities subcommittee of the House Banking Committee, said he hoped it would induce exchanges that do not have the standard to voluntarily upgrade their voting rights rules.
″Failure to do so would be an abdication of responsibility that can only be dealt with by legislation,″ D’Amato said.
The legislation, sponsored in the House by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. would allow the New York Stock Exchange to keep its present one-share, one-vote rule.
The American Stock Exchange, the National Association of Securities Dealers - which operates NASDAQ automated quotations - and regional exchanges would be required to upgrade their present standards.
The NYSE is said to be considering a proposal to allow Big Board-listed companies to defend themselves against hostile corporate takeovers by issuing two classes of stock with unequal voting rights.
Last month, AMEX said it would adopt the one-vote, one-share rule if NASDAQ would. But the National Association of Securities Dealers has not committed itself.
″Uniform voting requirements would restore shareholder democracy to the nation’s markets,″ D’Amato said. ″It would bring an end to the concept that some shareholders are more equal than others.″