Voting: Putting our beliefs into action
Voting at company meetings is an important part of the dialogue between a company and its shareholders and as asset managers it is a fundamental aspect of our fiduciary duty to our clients.
Our corporate governance and voting policy provides a robust framework for instilling proper governance in the companies in which we invest and forms the basis of our global voting activities. It is based on principles of good corporate governance which serve to protect the long-term interests of shareholders.
Global and local guidelines
In addition to our global policy, we have voting guidelines for specific markets, recognising that practices vary between jurisdictions and the companies in which we invest, are subject to different local laws and regulations on governance matters.
When reviewing resolutions proposed at general meetings we judge them against fundamental principles of good corporate governance, while taking account of best practice standards pertinent to the relevant market and the company’s particular circumstances.
Global voting statistics
During 2017, we exercised our clients’ voting rights globally in line with our investment footprint.
We do not vote in markets that still require investors to block shares or have imposed onerous administrative requirements on the exercise of voting rights.
Votes against management
This level of dissension underlines our commitment ensuring that votes are cast to promote our clients’ long-term interests.
The breakdown of our dissenting vote shows that as investors we continue to focus on:
- Board structure - how companies are led to deliver shareholder value
- Remuneration - how executives are incentivised to deliver shareholder value
- Pre-emption rights - any potential dilution of our clients economic interests
- Shareholder interests - our clients rights and interests in companies
- Environmental and social oversight - environmental and social issues impacting on companies
Our levels of dissent and rationale for not supporting the Board differed from region to region, given that markets are at different stages of development on corporate governance issues, in particular, shareholder rights.