Where Hermes EOS has executed a vote against management on large holdings or otherwise high-profile companies, it seeks to follow up with the company either in writing to explain the reasons giving rise to a vote against and the steps that it would like to see the company take to rectify the issue. As necessary, Hermes EOS will look to engage with the company before the meeting to ensure that the issue giving rise to the vote against is addressed so that it can vote in line with management’s recommendation, a vote ‘for’ management ‘by exception,’ in subsequent years. It may look to vote against management in a number of different scenarios. While it is difficult to provide a general description, typically this will be where a vote with management would not serve the best long-term interests of shareholders. This may be either in terms of remuneration or where there are insufficient skills on the board to take the company forward.
There may also be specific instances where a vote in favour of management would be actively detrimental to the company, for example in the case of a merger or acquisition. Hermes EOS rarely abstains on votes. In the very rare instances that it does consider abstaining, this may be because it is unable to vote with management – typically due to inadequate information being provided – but where a vote against management may appear unduly harsh. Hermes EOS always seeks to obtain the required information to make an informed voting decision but this may not always be possible.