The Power of Shareholder Proposals

Investors wield shareholder proposals to curb corporate excess or poor management.

Executive team listening to contrary views from colleague in corporate board room
(Image credit: AzmanL for Getty Images)

A shareholder proposal gives investors a figurative seat at the boardroom table. If you own stock in a large, publicly-traded company, chances are it has weathered at least one shareholder proposal in recent years. 

Investors have used this powerful tool to advocate for changes they believe will enhance shareholder value, such as limiting CEO pay or improving product safety. And in some cases, investors have successfully changed corporate practices using shareholder proposals.

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Ellen Kennedy
Personal Finance Editor,

Ellen writes and edits personal finance stories, especially on credit cards and related products. She also covers the nexus between sustainability and personal finance. She was a manager and sustainability analyst at Calvert Investments for 15 years, focusing on climate change and consumer staples. She served on the sustainability councils of several Fortune 500 companies and led corporate engagements. Before joining Calvert, Ellen was a program officer for Winrock International, managing loans to alternative energy projects in Latin America. She earned a master’s from the U.C. Berkeley in international relations and Latin America.