It looks like shareholder activists are increasingly getting their way with companies, or at least convincing management that if they don’t compromise they could wind up paying a steeper price down the road.

A number of recent corporate governance developments suggest that activists are starting to gain the upper hand, and companies are reacting by changing policies or proposing alternatives even when they are not required to.

These trends are playing out in the proxy access and say-on-pay movements.

The latest example: Hewlett-Packard reportedly agreed to put a proxy access bylaw proposal on its ballot in 2013 after reaching a settlement with Amalgamated Bank, a long-time activist investor which had filed a nonbinding proposal for the company’s March 2012 meeting. Under HP’s proposal, shareholders who own at least 3 percent of the tech company’s stock for at least three years would be allowed to nominate up to 20 percent of the company’s directors, according to The Wall Street Journal, which stressed the vote would be binding.

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