UK - ISIS Asset Management has brought out into the open its shareholder voting policy on behalf of its clients – institutional and otherwise – with the first ever publication of an annual report showing where the investment manager intervened and how it voted.
The release of the ISIS governance survey coincides with reports that the UK government is set to urge shareholder activists not to act rashly against companies they invest in but instead spell out their decisions under a new best-practice code incorporated within the Higgs report on corporate governance.
Launching the ISIS report, Karina Litvack, director, head of governance and socially responsible investment, said the manager fully supported the reported best-practice code: “We wholeheartedly endorse this and believe institutional investors should justify their actions. If activists are calling on companies to be open then they should apply the same practice.”
In its report, ISIS revealed that it had exercised its voting rights on 13,866 resolutions during 2002 on the totality of its global holdings.
However, the firm only opposed management in 5% of the cases and abstained in a further 3% of votes, with ISIS noting that votes against management are used ‘sparingly’ with a preference for resolution through dialogue with the company where possible.
ISIS notes that the highest proportion of votes against management (50%) covered proposals filed by minority shareholders on issues of social and environment practice. Nonetheless, shareholder proposals as a total for the year only numbered 276 cases.
The vast majority of resolutions voted on came in the areas of board structure/director nomination, capital structure, remuneration and routine business, where in 93% of cases ISIS said it voted in favour of the company management.