Shareholder adviser firm paying $300,000 fine

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A well-known firm that advises big shareholders on how to vote in elections for company directors is paying a $300,000 fine to settle federal civil charges of failing to protect clients' confidential voting information.

Institutional Shareholder Services agreed to the penalty in a settlement announced Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm, based in Rockville, Md., didn't admit or deny the SEC's allegations.

The SEC said that over five years, an ISS employee gave a vote-gathering firm hired by companies information showing how more than 100 ISS clients planned to vote on ballots for directors. In exchange for getting the information before elections, the SEC said the firm gave the employee expensive tickets to concerts and sporting events.

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