Advance Notice Requirements for Nomination of Directors and Presentation of New Business at Meetings of Stockholders; Action by Written Consent. Our by-laws provide for advance notice requirements for stockholder proposals and nominations for director. In addition, under the provisions of both our certificate of incorporation and by-laws, action may not be taken by written consent of stockholders; rather, any action taken by the stockholders must be effected at a duly called meeting. The Chairman of the Board, chief executive officer, or, under some circumstances, the president or any vice president, and the board of directors may call a special meeting. These provisions make it more procedurally difficult for a stockholder to place a proposal or nomination on the meeting agenda or to take action without a meeting, and therefore may reduce the likelihood that a stockholder will seek to take independent action to replace directors or seek a stockholder vote with respect to other matters that are not supported by management.
Limitations on Director Liability
Our certificate of incorporation contains a provision that is designed to limit our directors' liability. Specifically, directors will not be held liable to Principal Financial Group, Inc. for monetary damages for breach of their fiduciary duty as a director, except to the extent that this limitation on or exemption from liability is not permitted by the Delaware General Corporation Law and any amendments to that law.
The principal effect of the limitation on liability provision is that a stockholder is unable to prosecute an action for monetary damages against a director of Principal Financial Group, Inc. unless the stockholder can demonstrate a basis for liability for which indemnification is not available under the Delaware General Corporation Law. This provision, however, does not eliminate or limit director liability arising in connection with causes of action brought under the federal securities laws. Our certificate of incorporation does not eliminate our directors' duty of care. The inclusion of this provision in our certificate of incorporation may, however, discourage or deter stockholders or management from bringing a lawsuit against directors for a breach of their fiduciary duties, even though such an action, if successful, might otherwise have benefited Principal Financial Group, Inc. and our stockholders. This provision should not affect the availability of equitable remedies such as injunction or rescission based upon a director's breach of the duty of care.
Our by-laws also provide that we will indemnify our directors and officers. We are required to indemnify our directors and officers for all judgments, fines, settlements, legal fees and other expenses incurred in connection with pending, threatened or completed legal proceedings because of the director's or officer's position with Principal Financial Group, Inc. or another entity that the director or officer serves at our request, subject to various conditions, and to advance funds to our directors and officers to enable them to defend against such proceedings. To receive indemnification, the director or officer must have been successful in the legal proceeding or have acted in good faith and in what was reasonably believed to be a lawful manner in the best interest of Principal Financial Group, Inc.
Supermajority Voting Requirement for Amendment of Certain Provisions of our Certificate of Incorporation and By-Laws. The provisions of our certificate of incorporation governing, among other things the classified board, the director's discretion in determining what he or she reasonably believes to be in the best interests of Principal Financial Group, Inc., the liability of directors and the elimination of stockholder actions by written consent may not be amended, altered or repealed unless the amendment is approved by the vote of holders of three-fourths of the shares then entitled to vote at an election of directors. This requirement exceeds the majority vote of the outstanding stock that would otherwise be required by the Delaware General Corporation Law for the repeal or amendment of such provisions of the certificate of incorporation. Our by-laws may be amended by the board of directors or by the vote of holders of three-fourths of the shares then entitled to vote. These provisions make it more difficult for any person to remove or amend any provisions that have an antitakeover effect.
Business Combination Statute. In addition, as a Delaware corporation, we are subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, unless we elect in our certificate of incorporation not to be governed by the provisions of Section 203. We have not made that election. Section 203 can affect the ability of an "interested stockholder" of Principal Financial Group, Inc. to engage in business combinations, such as mergers, consolidations or acquisitions of additional shares of Principal Financial Group, Inc., for a period of three years following the time that the stockholder becomes an "interested stockholder." An "interested stockholder" is defined to include persons owning directly or indirectly 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock of a corporation. The provisions of Section 203 are not applicable in some circumstances, including those in which (a) the business combination or transaction which results in the stockholder becoming an "interested stockholder" is approved by the corporation's board of directors prior to the time the stockholder becomes an "interested stockholder" or (b) the "interested stockholder," upon consummation of such transaction, owns at least 85% of the voting stock of the corporation outstanding prior to such transaction.