SEC Rule Change Could Ease Path for Activist Investors to Gain Seats on Corporate Boards

WASHINGTON—Activist investors competing to join a company’s board of directors could get a boost for their campaigns under a plan approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Revisions to corporate-ballot rules the SEC finalized on Wednesday requires companies to give shareholders a “universal ballot,” a single ballot listing all candidates in a contested board election. Currently, voters in contested elections receive two sets of ballots, each featuring a rival slate of board candidates.