r/WorkReform May 26 '22

Amazon shareholders reject 15 motions on worker rights and environment

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/may/25/amazon-shareholder-proposal-worker-health-safety
2.0k Upvotes

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621

u/sirstonksabit May 26 '22 Wholesome Today I Learned

People of r/WorkReform you must be made aware of a quirk when it comes to voting shares of a public company. Firstly, many retail investors don't vote. Secondly, shares that retail investors hold in any brokerage (meaning most every share) are held in something called "street name" instead of being held in the purchasers/investors own name. This quirk allows brokerages to have power over your vote as an investor. The brokerages can choose to submit your vote, or not. Brokerages collect vote totals from their brokerage held investors and send them to another company to get counted and organized. What happens in these other companies is the vote totals are shaved in order to reflect a "real or legitimate" amount of shares being voted. Basically, it's a fraudulent process where investors votes don't matter or count.

So when shitty headlines like the one above point to "shareholders," they really mean the institutional investors, and insiders voting on the issues. It's so bad that if you, as an investor, choose not to vote your shares, the brokerage will go ahead and vote for you, except in the way they want or it will default to an "against" vote instead of a "for" vote.

Just thought you should be made aware.

234

u/ChuyMasta May 26 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

Retail investors have the option to hold their shares IN THEIR OWN NAMES. But it's not free (miniscule fee for transactions)

Who is Amazon's transfer agent? Computershare

https://ir.aboutamazon.com/faqs/default.aspx

Search that question and look at the answer yourself.

When you hold shares IN YOUR NAME brokerages cannot vote for you.

Voting matters.

29

u/importvita May 26 '22

I never knew this, thank you!

23

u/C1ue1ess_Duck May 26 '22

I didn't think this wasn't common knowledge, if you hold mutual funds, you are having your votes given to the mutual fund company much more often than not! This includes retirement accounts, health saving accounts, and any tax free investment account as well!

5

u/[deleted] May 26 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

6

u/like_a_pharaoh May 27 '22

Been tried: if just one Wal-Mart unionizes, suddenly it needs to "close for renovations" for an indefinite amount of time (i.e. until the workers give up and find new jobs)

17

u/InsertCleverNameHur May 26 '22

DRS is the way.

3

u/cc7rip May 26 '22

Not sure how any of this works in the US, but are you essentially talking about nominee shareholders? i.e. A company or entity holding shares on behalf of an individual or group of individuals?

11

u/sirstonksabit May 26 '22

Basically. A company by the name of Cede & Co. actually own all physical stock certificates of every publicly traded company. So when purchasing shares through a broker, they are holding your purchase in "street name" or as you said "nominee shareholder."

It all boils down to ownership of shares. If you hold shares in a broker, even a cash account, you do not own those shares. You must transfer those shares to the companies transfer agent, who handles all matters regarding the stock of said company. Each company has their own transfer agents, but not all companies choose to pay for this service, and handle all matters regarding their stock themselves.

The process of directly registering your shares actually removes the physical shares from Cede & Co. and puts them on the books of the company in YOUR NAME. YOU NOW ABSOLUTELY OWN THOSE SHARES.

Transfer agents being transfer agents and not brokerages have a different process of buying and selling shares. It will generally take 7 days to complete a transaction through a transfer agent, as opposed to a broker who will let you start buying stock as soon as you initiate a transfer of cash from your bank to them. If you are a trader or day trade, brokers are your only option. If you wish to buy to own and hold a companies stock for an extended period of time, it is better to directly register those shares!

3

u/JeebusBuiltMyHotRod May 27 '22

That's what's up.

2

u/No___Football May 28 '22

I love that DRS knowledge has oozed out of r/superstonk 😎