April 19, 2018

At Exxon Mobil’s annual shareholder meeting last year, for instance, Vanguard and BlackRock’s votes helped pass a shareholder resolution that the oil giant would regularly report the effects of climate change on its business—a blatant defiance of management’s recommendation. “That marked a turning point,” says Bruce Goldfarb, CEO of the proxy solicitation firm Okapi Partners. “The large index investors had mostly voted with management on environmental matters up until then.”

February 27, 2018

Goldfarb says institutional investors will typically still engage directly with both sides before making a decision. “Investors evaluate the message from both sides, review the track record of the activist and its nominees, as well as the board’s nominees, frequently consider research from proxy voting advisors and sell side analysts and ultimately support the side that the investor believes will create value for its investment in the company,” Goldfarb writes.

February 2, 2018

“Based on listening to the needs of many clients and advisers, we realized that it would be beneficial for Okapi Partners to provide stock surveillance in-house,” said Goldfarb. “With Okapi Market Intelligence Group, we can provide our clients access to what stock surveillance’s services can offer but also enhance it with the work that we do and our experiences with a company and its shareholders.”

November 19, 2017

Goldfarb said he would not be surprised if the final IVS number is different than what was presented on Wednesday, adding that there usually are some votes that are subject to change but that they typically are immaterial to the final outcome.

However, in this case, even small votes are not unimportant, and error associated with a small individual shareholder with 43,000 shares could swing the election in favor of P&G’s incumbent director. “The difference in the tally could be one voter,” he said.

November 7, 2017

Bruce Goldfarb, chief executive of Okapi Partners, a firm that helps run proxy fights but was not involved in this one, said that Mr. Ackman’s reputation had taken a blow, but that if ADP performed well in the future, investors might give him some of the credit.

“The short term sting to Ackman’s reputation will be painful and may impact his next campaign,” he said. “Nevertheless, the true reputation of any activist is based on the change in value of the target selected and the impact on that value that can be attributed to the campaign.”