Distributions & Reports
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General American Investors Company, Inc. (the “Company”) is uniquely structured as an internally managed closed-end investment company. Our research efforts, including the receipt and analysis of proxy material, are focused on the securities in the Company’s portfolio, as well as alternative investment opportunities. We vote proxies relating to our portfolio securities in the best long-term interests of the Company.
Our investment approach stresses fundamental security analysis, which includes an evaluation of the integrity, as well as the effectiveness of management personnel. In proxy material, we review management proposals and management recommendations relating to shareholder proposals in order to, among other things, gain assurance that management’s positions are consistent with its integrity and the long-term interests of the company. We generally find this to be the case and, accordingly, give significant weight to the views of management when we vote proxies.
Proposals that may have an impact on the rights or privileges of the securities held by the Company would be reviewed very carefully. The explanation for a negative impact could justify the proposal; however, if such justification were not present, we would vote against a significant reduction in the rights or privileges associated with any of our holdings.
Proposals relating to corporate governance matters are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. When they involve changes in the state of incorporation, mergers or other restructuring, we would, if necessary, complete our review of the rationale for the proposal by contacting company representatives and, with few exceptions, vote in favor of management’s recommendations. Proposals relating to anti-takeover provisions, such as staggered boards, poison pills and supermajorities could be more problematic. They would be considered in light of our assessment of the capability of current management, the duration of the proposal, the negative impact it might have on the attractiveness of the company to future “investors,” among other factors. We can envision circumstances under which we would vote against an anti-takeover provision.
Generally, we would vote with management on proposals relating to changes to the company’s capital structure, including increases and decreases of capital and issuances of preferred stock; however, we would review the facts and circumstances associated with each proposal before finalizing our decision.
Well-structured stock option plans and management compensation programs are essential for companies to attract and retain high caliber management personnel. We generally vote in favor of proposals relating to these issues; however, there could be an occasion on which we viewed such a proposal as over reaching on the part of management or having the potential for excessive dilution when we would vote against the proposal.
Corporations should act in a responsible manner toward their employees, the communities in which they are located, the customers they serve and the world at large. We have observed that most stockholder proposals relating to social issues focus on a narrow issue and the corporate position set forth in the proxy material provides a well-considered response demonstrating an appropriate and responsible action or position. Accordingly, we generally support management recommendations on these types of proposals; however, we would consider each proposal on a case-by-case basis.
We take voting proxies of securities held in our portfolio very seriously. As indicated above, it is an integral part of the analytical process at General American Investors. Each proposal and any competing interests are reviewed carefully on a case-by-case basis. Generally, we support and vote in accordance with the recommendations of management; however, the overriding basis for the votes we cast is the best long-term interests of the Company.