The voting rights for all of Vontobel's sustainable investment funds and selected thematic funds are actively exercised and an active dialogue is conducted with the companies in which they invest. The Vontobel Group works with Hermes EOS (HEOS) - a leading provider of voting and engagement services - to ensure the exercising of voting rights and the cultivation of a dialogue with these companies. (https://www.hermes-investment.com/stewardship/)
Importantly, the decision-making authority remains with Vontobel. The proposals made by HEOS with regard to voting rights and engagement are reviewed by Vontobel and can be modified or rejected. The voting and engagement guidelines followed by HEOS and Ethos were also reviewed and approved by Vontobel. (https://www.hermes-investment.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/the-hermes-ownership-principles.pdf)
In the case of the other Swiss and Luxembourg-domiciled investment funds managed by Vontobel Fonds Services AG and Vontobel Management S.A., the voting rights for all equity positions where the funds hold a significant stake (at least 3%) of the issuer's share capital are exercised in accordance with the corporate governance recommendations of the European Fund and Asset Management Association. In the case of equity positions held by the Swiss sustainable investment fund managed by Vontobel Fonds Services AG, research produced by HEOS is incorporated into the voting process. Vontobel Fonds Services AG has the exclusive authority to decide how the voting rights are exercised and it executes these decisions. Rules are in place defining how problematic events at the target companies are identified and assessed as well as how voting decisions are made and voting rights are exercised. The way in which voting rights are exercised for Global Change products is disclosed regularly in Voting& Engagement Reports. They also provide examples of the ongoing dialogue with companies.
Our service provider Hermes EOS engages with companies on behalf of its clients on environmental, social and ethical, governance, strategy, risk and communication issues with the goal of achieving beneficial change with respect to risk management, value creation and reputation. Engagements are objective-driven and follow a structured, milestone-driven approach. Interactions are sought at the board, senior management and specialist level, which is complemented by collaborations with other investors where appropriate. The work is carried out by a multinational team with diverse experience and skills. All company engagements are sought to be complementary to Hermes EOS' public policy, best practice and voting work.