Leading figures in the corporate governance sector in the US are on alert over what seems to be a fake website that is making use of an old proxy campaign site that is displaying promotional content from Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS).
Early on Wednesday morning, James McRitchie, activist investor and publisher of CorporateGovernance.net, tweeted a warning about the site, http://proxyexchange.org, saying it was using copyrighted content from ISS, the Shareholder Rights Project and the former United States Proxy Exchange.
McRitchie confirmed on Thursday that “someone is lifting copyrighted content from our old Proxyexchange.org site, as well as ISS and the Shareholder Rights Project”.
United States Proxy Exchange, or USPX, was a social network site set up in 2010 to bring together like-minded investors and give them the tools to run governance-related campaigns themselves.Sanford Lewis, the attorney with the Shareholder Rights Project, confirmed that he had also seen the website and that they would have to act to remove it at some point. He also expressed concern that the fake website might be an attempt to collect email addresses of investors, and then exploit them in some way.
ISS, which has been drawn in via the posting of an animated advertisement for its own ProxyExchange service, was unaware of the site until notified of it on Thursday. While the firm declined to comment further, a spokesman for ISS said it had no association with the [ProxyExchange.com] site.
The site features blog posts from 2010 and 2011. And the Twitter feed is sourced from a German engineer called Dirk Schaar who has nothing to do with corporate governance or US proxies in any way whatsoever.
No one knows who is behind the site, which is sourcing content from hacked archived web pages, but it is to be hoped that no one has entered their details to become a ‘member’ or to enquire further about the services.