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Views of the Individual Investor Toward Internet-Based Delivery of Company Proxy Materials

Under a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission proposal, investors would no longer automatically receive pre-annual meeting proxy materials in paper form by mail; instead, for those with Internet connections, corporations and mutual funds would rely primarily on email to announce the online availability of these materials at a Web site.

This telephone survey examines and assesses the attitudes and opinions of age 25+ investors toward this proposed change. Of those interviewed…

  • 84% have and 16% do not have Internet access for personal use (nearly half of those age 70 and older lack Internet access, as do more a third of investors with only high school educations)
  • 76% prefer to be notified of annual meetings by regular mail compared to only 26% favoring email
  • 91% would be comfortable receiving documents via regular mail while 69% would be comfortable receiving letters that direct them to a Web site and provide a phone number for requesting paper copies; approximately half indicated comfort with online communication
  • 60% preferred using regular mail for submitting proxies, compared to 27% preferring a secure Web site and 10% email

Based on these survey findings, it appears that less educated investors and older investors would be placed at a disadvantage by a decision to replace the traditional method of delivering proxy materials through regular mail with a new Internet-based method.

This random telephone survey of 1,493 age 25+ investors was conducted by Woelfel Research, Inc. for AARP between January 13th and January 29th, 2006. Further information may be obtained by contacting S. Kathi Brown of AARP Knowledge Management/Strategic Issues Research at 202-434-6296. (67 pages)