Okapi Partners has a long history of working with mutual funds, closed-end funds, exchange-traded funds and their shareholders in a broad range of investor response campaigns. The influence of proxy advisory firms on votes in the investment fund industry as well as the intersection of institutional shareholder activism and retail shareholder apathy have resulted in a growing need for sophisticated proxy solicitors. A mutual fund’s shareholder base, for example, can include sundry investors from 401(k) and corporate pension plans to retail shareholders, with many “objecting beneficial owners” (investors who do not want their identities known to companies or funds). Each type of investor requires a distinct and tailored strategy.
Our Fund Proxy Solicitation Team begins each solicitation assignment by initiating a comprehensive overview of the relevant investor constituent base for each and every fund as well as reviewing the pertinent issues involved in each specific solicitation. Understanding the landscape allows us to effectively plan and execute a strategy tailored to our client’s specific needs. More than ever before, strategic advice really matters in the solicitation of investment fund shareholders. Understanding where to focus your resources is vital when planning any campaign.
We help our clients by strategically contacting the investors who can be reached in a call campaign and also providing tactics and advice to obtain support from other significant investors. We work with fund management and advisors throughout the process from planning the actual campaign, coordinating mailings, implementing call campaigns, and more than ever making increased us of other media outreach to bring in the vote.
In addition to our mutual fund solicitation expertise, we also specialize in solicitation campaigns for closed-end funds. Through years of work for management on director elections, rights offerings, and shareholder proposals, we have extensive knowledge of the issues that concern investors in these funds. We know the processes and techniques necessary to advise management and solicit proxies in a contested situation.
We also serve as Information Agent for closed-end funds requiring any corporate action, including a tender or exchange offer, a rights offering, a share buyback or the shareholder election related to any such action. Each such action requires strategic planning and communication to ensure optimal results. For these transactions, we provide strategic, tactical and content-related advice, and coordinate timing and mechanics.
We oversee the production and distribution of materials to shareholders, as well as to banks, brokers, and other intermediaries. Through our call centers, we contact investors and respond to inquiries using dedicated toll-free phone numbers – always with the focus on making sure that all investors can get answers to questions and respond appropriately. Long-standing working relationships with leading investment banks and legal and financial public relations firms ensure well-executed, successful transactions.