The Securities and Exchange Commission may let investors owning as little as 1% of the biggest companies nominate directors on proxy statements, giving stockholders a tool to overhaul boards at banking firms blamed for fueling the financial crisis.

SEC commissioners voted 3 to 2 Wednesday to seek public comment on the proposal, which would apply to companies with market values exceeding $700 million. Investors would have to own a larger proportion of shares to nominate directors at smaller companies.

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