1. 2018 Swisscanto Sustainability Proxy Voting Guidelines
Sustainability Proxy Voting Guidelines (Guidelines) which are duly applied by Swisscanto Fund Management Company Ltd. (Swisscanto) and Swisscanto Asset Management International S.A. (Swisscanto) are valid for Swiss and international companies. The rules contained herein were established and are regularly updated in collaboration with International Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS), mandated as external proxy voting analyst, and reflect Swisscanto’s custom policy. Hence, these are Swisscanto’s proprietary proxy voting guidelines which differ from ISS’ Benchmark Policy.
There is an increasing number of investors concerned with portfolio value preservation and enhancement through carrying out an active ownership approach through their proxy voting activity. In voting their shares, sustainability-minded investors are concerned not only with economic returns to shareholders and good corporate governance but also with ensuring that corporate activities and practices are aligned with the broader objectives of society. Additionally, Swisscanto recognizes the growing view among investors and investment professionals that sustainability or environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors could present material risks to portfolio investments. Therefore, Swisscanto together with ISS has developed these Guidelines that are consistent with the objectives of sustainability-minded investors and that seek to promote support for sustainable business practices advocating for stewardship of environment, fair labor practices, non-discrimination and the protection of human rights.
Generally, these Guidelines will take as its frame of reference internationally recognized sustainability-related initiatives such as the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), United Nations Global Compact, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Carbon Principles, International Labour Organization Conventions (ILO), CERES Principles, Global Sullivan Principles, MacBride Principles and environmental and social European Union Directives. Each of these initiatives promote a fair, unified and productive reporting and compliance environment which advances positive corporate ESG actions and mitigate related financial and reputational risks.
Swisscanto in collaboration with ISS reviews and updates these Guidelines on an annual basis to take into account emerging issues and trends on environmental, social and corporate governance topics, market standards or regulations and client feedback.
There may be cases in which the exercise of voting rights at a particular company varies from these Guidelines in order to better safeguard the interest of investors and shareholder value due to the fact that Swisscanto consider company-specific circumstances in arriving at its decision.
2. Key principles for the exercice of voting rights:
Through our fiduciary duty towards our investors, we actively assume the fiduciary responsibility of the exercise of voting rights and thereby implement the following key principles:
- Our voting procedures are set out in separate guidelines based on Swiss and international standards as well as our own values, and are reviewed on a regular basis.
- We efficiently implement our guidelines and use the assessment of an independent, recognised proxy voting advisor and our asset managers in the analysis and decision-making process.
- We represent the interests of our investors with our independent exercise of voting rights.
- As a shareholder, we actively exercise voting rights and thus enforce good corporate governance in accordance with recognised principles.
- We align our voting policy to focus on a constant improvement in enterprise/shareholder value generation.
- We support economically sensible sustainability resolutions.
- We publish our voting policy and voting procedures transparently.
More detailed information: