Are the proxy voting industry’s Best Practice Principles for Shareholder Voting Research and Analysis up to date and fit for purpose? What impact have they had so far? (Did you even know that the proxy industry had best practice principles?)
Investors, companies and other industry participants are invited to weigh in on these and other questions as part of the recently launched consultation that runs through December 15, 2017.
The Best Practice Principles (“BPP” or the “Principles”) were voluntarily introduced in 2014 by members of the proxy voting industry, including Glass Lewis and IVOX (now IVOX Glass Lewis) as charter signatories. The goal of the Principles is to promote transparency and a wider understanding of shareholder voting research providers’ role within the broader investment and voting ecosystems.
Earlier this year the BPP Group announced a review, focusing on both the content of the Principles themselves and processes for reporting and monitoring. In addition, the review is looking to ensure that the Principles remain fully aligned with applicable regulation, particularly the revised EU Shareholder Rights Directive, which will place new mandatory requirements on EU proxy advisors from 2019.
The consultation is an important part of the review process, providing investors, companies and other stakeholders who rely on proxy voting with an opportunity to submit feedback on the Principles themselves and their experiences within the industry. It includes questions covering the Principles’ three existing areas of focus, namely service quality, managing conflicts of interest, and communications, and asks if the Principles should be expanded to address any other issues, such as ESG advisory services or governance engagement.
Announcing the consultation, Chris Hodge, independent chair of the BPP Steering Group said that “The role of proxy advisors is a subject than can often generate more heat than light. This review is an opportunity to shed more light on their activities, and to identify ways in which the standards in the Principles might be strengthened and reporting against them made more informative. We are particularly keen to get first hand evidence from investors who use the services of voting research providers and from companies who have had direct dealings with them.”
You can participate in the consultation through on online poll or via email; the closing date is December 15, 2017.