latamen
Voting season: making our voice heard as a shareholder

Voting season: making our voice heard as a shareholder

25-07-2019 | Insight
Sustainability issues have gained more traction in the US, while board composition remains among the most contentious issues in Asia. That was the outcome of the recent voting season at which Robeco uses its rights as a shareholder to try to make companies more sustainable. And there were some remarkable winners and sinners in the annual display of investor opinion, our Active Ownership team says.
  • Laura Bosch Ferreté
    Laura
    Bosch Ferreté
    Engagement analyst

The 2019 AGM season saw a marked increase in the number of shareholder meetings that Robeco voted at, due mainly to a rise in the number of clients and mandates. We voted at over 5,000 shareholder meetings in 2018, and we expect a hike in this number for 2019. As an asset manager, Robeco votes on behalf of asset owners with the aim of improving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance at the companies in which we invest.

“In the US, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of social shareholder resolutions; last year the big theme was environmental, but this year the number of environment-related resolutions that made it to the meeting agenda has decreased, and the social ones have taken over,” says Engagement Analyst Laura Bosch Ferreté, who has collated all the results from our bustling March-June voting season. Social topics range from gender pay gaps to lobbying expenses.

Stay informed on our latest insights with monthly mail updates
Stay informed on our latest insights with monthly mail updates
Subscribe

Co-filing resolutions

“About 35% of Robeco’s votes are in the US, making it an important market for us, and overall we supported about 75% of the social shareholder resolutions this year,” adds Carola van Lamoen, Head of Active Ownership.

“We co-filed two shareholder resolutions. The first asked Ford to disclose more on its climate-related lobbying contributions; we wanted to find out how much their contributions to trade associations and political groups was aligned with their business strategy on the environmental front, and whether the cost of it made sense.”

“The second asked BP to disclose to what extent its business strategy was aligned with the 2-degree climate change scenario, and how they are planning to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to comply with that. Making sure that a company can remain in business in the long run, and identifies climate change as a major risk for their business, is a very important issue for shareholders.”

Link with engagement themes

“Several topics that were put forward by shareholders in shareholder proposals were in line with our engagement work. Examples are proposals about the gender pay gap, how pharma companies take drug pricing into account in their compensation practices, and a lot of focus on plastic pollution.”

The old chestnut of executive pay that does not reflect past performance reared its head again, along with new national regulations that will set targets for female representation on boards of directors from 2020. “We’ve seen the same patterns as in recent years; many votes against compensation packages due to structural issues in the way that companies design them,” she says. “We voted against 35% of executive remuneration packages in the US, which is slightly higher than our global average of 27%.”

Important information

The Robeco Capital Growth Funds have not been registered under the United States Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, nor the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended. None of the shares may be offered or sold, directly or indirectly in the United States or to any US Person.

This website is intended for use only by non-U.S. Persons outside of the United States (within the meaning of Regulation S promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”)) who are professional investors. By clicking “I Agree” below and accessing the information on this website, including any subdomain thereof, you are certifying and agreeing to the following: (i) you have read, understood and agree to this disclaimer, (ii) you have informed yourself of any applicable legal restrictions and represent that by accessing the information contained on this website, you are not in violation of, and will not be causing Robeco or any of its affiliated entities or issuers to violate, any applicable laws and, as a result, you are legally authorized to access such information, (iii) you understand and acknowledge that certain information presented herein relates to securities that have not been registered under the Securities Act, and may be offered or sold only outside the United States (within the meaning of Regulation S under the Securities Act) and only to, or for the account or benefit of, non-U.S. Persons (within the meaning of Regulation S under the Securities Act), (iv) you are a non-U.S. Person (within the meaning of Regulation S under the Securities Act) located outside of the United States (within the meaning of Regulation S under the Securities Act) and (v) you are a professional non-retail investor.

Access to this website has been limited so that it shall not constitute directed selling efforts (as defined in Regulation S under the Securities Act) in the United States.

Nothing contained herein constitutes an offer to sell securities or solicitation of an offer to purchase any securities in any jurisdiction.

We reserve the right to deny access to any visitor, including, but not limited to, those visitors with IP addresses residing in the United States.

This website has been carefully prepared by Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. (Robeco). The information contained in this publication is based upon sources of information believed to be reliable. Robeco is not answerable for the accuracy or completeness of the facts, opinions, expectations and results referred to therein. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this website, we do not accept any responsibility for damage of any kind resulting from incorrect or incomplete information. This website is subject to change without notice. The value of the investments may fluctuate. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If the currency in which the past performance is displayed differs from the currency of the country in which you reside, then you should be aware that due to exchange rate fluctuations the performance shown may increase or decrease if converted into your local currency. For investment professional use only. Not for use with the general public.
I Disagree