The USPX launched during the 2008 financial crisis, but our origins go back to a 2006 paper published by Glyn Holton in the Financial Analysts Journal. That paper offered a vision for putting shareowners back in charge of the corporations they own. It proposed a novel “proxy exchange” through which investors might conveniently transfer, aggregate and exercise proxy rights.
The paper was ahead of its time. No such exchange could function under the existing legal and regulatory system for shareowner voting, which is a shambles. But the paper illustrated what is possible, if reforms are implemented.
In 2008, Glyn teamed up with shareowner activist Jim McRitchie. They reached out to other, prominent shareowner activists—people like John Chevedden, Richard Foley and Steve Nieman. These individuals had toiled for years, often in isolation. The idea was to coordinate their efforts in a manner that could get more people involved. The USPX was launched as a grassroots movement with a long-term goal to someday implement a proxy exchange. Admittedly, that goal is remote. Today, we invest all our energies in empowering shareowners and pursuing reforms. Slowly our ranks are increasing. Members include seasoned professionals with expertise in finance, law and SEC regulations. Together, we have the expertise to challenge corporate lawyers, disinterested regulators and entrenched boards.
A significant advance for the movement was the 2011 launch of our interactive website. With social networking tools such as blogs, groups and forums, the website allows members to self-organize around issues.