Candriam Investors Group has pursued an active voting policy since 2003. Today, the asset manager is publishing its Proxy Voting and Engagement Reports for 2014, naming key topics of concern for the group and giving details on its voting behavior and engagement activities last year. Both activities are strongly linked to the strong position of Candriam in sustainable and responsible investment (SRI).
Steep rise in proxy voting 2014: 2,224 votes cast at 123 meetings Compared to 2013, Candriam increased the overall number of AGMs visited from 75 to 123, mainly in the UK (29%), France (21%) and Germany (15%). Of the 2,224 votes cast, 422 resolutions (19%) were considered contentious and 306 times Candriam decided to vote “Against”.
Say on pay: Directors´ remuneration still most controversial topic With 157 against-votes in 2014, directors´ remuneration drew the most opposition from Candriam. Candriam also considers “pay for performance” an important factor in corporate governance. That’s why Candriam has opposed resolutions on executive pay mainly because of a poor disclosure of overall packages, insufficient links to long-term performance and excessive raises not sufficiently explained.
Board accountability and shareholder rights : two other controversial topics With 758 resolutions and 63 against votes, board accountability was also high on Candriam´s AGM agenda in 2014.
Strong opposition from Candriam and other investors was also registered to the French Florange Act, an initiative giving double voting rights to shareholders registered for at least two years, due to come into effect in 2016.
30 collaborative initiatives signed and increasing constructive direct dialogue
Candriam aims to support and improve good corporate practices. “We are increasing our constructive dialogue and have engaged with 60 companies over governance and ESG issues in 2014”, confirms Isabelle Cabie, Global Head if SRI at Candriam. In order to effect change on sustainability topics of particular relevance, Candriam also joins industry and international initiatives aiming to push topics from workers health and safety standards in Bangladesh to anti-corruption initiatives in developed and developing countries.
Overall, Candriam is now a signatory of over 30 collaborative initiatives to encourage disclosure and improvement of ESG standards. The asset manager is also a member of a large number of associations that promote the integration of sustainable development within the industry and encourages national and international entities to develop and improve legal and structural frameworks that encourage more sustainable environmental, social and governance behavior.