By Ethan Klingsberg (June 23, 2017, 12:56 PM EDT) -- As passive investing via funds that track market indices continues to grow, the terrain where investors are fighting battles over governance reform is now expanding beyond contested stockholder meetings and into debates over the criteria for eligibility of issuers for inclusion in these indices. Indeed, in this era of index fund investing, a company focused on the future trading price of its shares should be much more concerned about gaining entry into and maintaining eligibility for indices than whether there will be a withhold vote recommendation on the members of its governance committee. If this direction continues to gain traction, we could end up with a market dominated by passive strategy investing where the current importance of familiarity with the hot-button governance concerns of proxy advisory firms and institutional investors becomes subsidiary to understanding how to navigate new, governance-related eligibility requirements of major equity indices....
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