We continuously works to improve the voting process. Given the high number of shareholder meetings, we are dependent on a reliable voting chain. In 2016, in partnership with Citibank N.A., our global custodian, we initiated a project to test the feasibility of a standardised model for final vote confirmation. This pilot project is part of our efforts to establish a process where we would have confirmation that all our voting rights were exercised at each shareholder meeting and that each resolution was voted as per our electronic instruction (known as end-to-end confirmation).
The majority of our voting decisions fall within the scope of our public voting guidelines. There are, however, cases where the global voting guidelines are less relevant due to the nature of the resolution. Some resolutions may be contentious or simply fall outside the general voting guidelines’ framework. In such cases, we analyse the agenda items individually and vote on the basis of what we deem to be in the fund’s best long-term interest. One common example of such cases is an extraordinary general meeting called to vote on a merger or acquisition.
We have an integrated voting process where we incorporate investment knowledge from portfolio managers into the final voting decision. By incorporating the insights of investment teams, we are in a position to consider company factors on a case-by- case basis. Voting decisions at 521 companies were made in collaboration with portfolio managers in 2016. These companies accounted for approximately 48 percent of the equity portfolio’s market value.