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2021 Trends in Proxy Design, Content and Messaging

To meet the changing demands of your shareholders, the annual meeting and proxy process should evolve to increase shareholder participation and effectively communicate your corporate objectives and values. Viewing the proxy statement as a crucial communications document can dramatically improve shareholder engagement. Current trends in proxy statement development include reader-friendly designs that draw attention to company highlights, summary views of key director information, voting actions and executive summaries of compensation. Join our panel of experts who will discuss how to improve your proxy statement by taking a fresh look at design, content and process management.

Discussion Topics


  1. Promote shareholder engagement and voting.
  2. Humanize the board and present director diversity and attributes.
  3. Reorganize content flow by creating a cohesive and accessible document.
  4. Apply corporate brand guidelines for consistent company messaging.
  5. Use graphics, images, charts and formatting to make your proxy more compelling and easier to read and navigate.

Content & Messaging Advisory

  1. Utilize ‘Plain English’ and eliminate dense text to effectively communicate with your investors.
  2. Use the shareholder letter to communicate corporate performance highlights or other critical messaging.
  3. Highlight important board decisions and corporate voting direction(s).
  4. Follow best practices in ESG, corporate governance and executive compensation
  5. Build an effective board skills matrix.

Process Management and Consulting

  1. Review state of the 2021 annual meeting and recap of 2020 virtual shareholder meetings.
  2. Improve electronic delivery and online voting.
  3. Expose common proxy process inefficiencies and how to eliminate service provider redundancies.


Mike Spelman
Director of Business Development, Proxy Solutions, Toppan Merrill

Karen Fisher
Proxy Advisory Services Consultant, Toppan Merrill

Stacy Harris
Proxy Design Specialist, Toppan Merrill