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I work for a Financial Services Company and a sentence in a legal document provoked a debate about the meaning of an abbreviation. The statement is:

Under the 1940 Act, a majority of a fund's outstanding voting
securities is defined as the lesser of (1) 67% of the outstanding shares
represented at a meeting at which more than 50% of a fund's outstanding shares
are present in person or represented by proxy or (2) more than 50% of a fund's
outstanding voting securities (a "Majority Vote").

According to one interpretation, "Majority Vote" refers to the entire sentence. Another interpretation is that "Majority Vote" is an abbreviation for (2) since it is after the or and is part of the (2) criteria.

Which interpretation is correct? If the second interpretation is correct, then how would the sentence be rewritten so that "Majority Vote" refers to the entire sentence? And vice versa if the first interpretation is correct?

Thanks!

John
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Welcome to English Forums, Jbla.

The way it is written, I would interpret a Majority Vote as meaning (2) only. If the phrase were to apply to both (1) and (2), I would revise the text as follows:

Under the 1940 Act, a majority of a fund's outstanding voting
securities (a 'Majority Vote') is defined as the lesser of (1) 67% of the outstanding shares
represented at a meeting at which more than 50% of a fund's outstanding shares
are present in person or represented by proxy or (2) more than 50% of a fund's
outstanding voting securities
.
Comments  
Thank you for your response. I agreed with you in the interpretation, but you know lawyers, they think they are always correct.