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Using our voting rights at AGMs

The listed companies we invest in hold annual general meetings. Find out how we approach voting and use this as a tool to protect the long-term value of the companies we invest.


How we hold companies accountable

Our shareholdings in companies around the world give us the right to vote at annual general meetings (AGMs).

Shareholders at these meetings typically support the recommendations of directors. A vote against, though, sends a powerful message to the company that something needs to change and makes AGMs effective in providing important feedback to the organisations we invest in.

By voting at AGMs, we can hold companies accountable, exert influence, and manage risk. This helps companies add value and helps grow our members’ investments.

Good corporate governance is not ‘tick-the-box’

Our priority when voting at AGMs is to ensure that companies prioritise good corporate governance in everything they do. It’s not a ‘tick-the-box' exercise.

We focus on things like board composition, diversity, executive remuneration, conduct and culture, heritage, and climate change.

We’re willing to vote against management proposals or propose an investor-led resolution if the company does not respond positively to our engagement and we believe there’s a risk to the long-term value of the organisation.

Members’ best interests

Our voting decisions are informed by company engagement, our proxy advisors’ recommendations, fund managers’ inputs and experts engaged to act in our members’ best interests . Our own direct engagement with companies also plays a big part in our voting decisions. We consider each shareholder proposal on a case-by-case-basis to ensure that what it asks is reasonable and achievable for the company and is in our members’ best interests.

Engagement as a long-term strategy

While we may escalate engagement by voting at AGMs, we meet with company Boards and management to assess and influence change on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues.

We engage directly with Australian listed companies, leverage the detailed knowledge of our fund managers, partner with the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) and collaborative groups like Climate Action 100+.

We engage with international listed companies by partnering with Hermes EOS and acting through fund managers.

Through regular discussions, we encourage companies to proactively change by taking tangible short-term action and long-term planning. However, if we do not see improvement in a company’s business model or there is a risk they may become potential stranded assets (assets that won’t meet a viable economic return), we may divest our holdings.

Read more about Hermes EOS

Read more about ACSI

By actively voting and engaging, we can help companies manage risk and find opportunities to maximise long-term returns for our members.

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