This year Labrador introduced the U.S Transparency Awards, which ranked the companies in the S&P 250 based on the quality of disclosure in their proxy statements, 10-Ks, and investor relations websites. This report will explain shifts and trends in proxy statement disclosure, using our 2018 Proxy Statement Benchmark report as a baseline. To be clear, the 2018 Benchmark focused on the Fortune 250, which is a different group of companies than we reviewed for the Transparency Awards. In fact, only 138 companies appear on both lists. That means that, while the trends we identified for 2019 will be instructive, our year-over-year comparisons are not perfect.
We looked at over 100 different document features, from the mundane (how many companies do you think include director photos?) to the weighty (human capital management is specifically discussed in 81 of the proxies we reviewed). All of which are based on how investors retrieve information, such as:
- How easy is it to access the data?
- Can it easily be compared to peers?
- How precise is it?
- Is information readily and quickly available?