We use a proxy advisor for casting our votes. Initially the advisor instructs a meeting along the lines of our policy. The instructions are then reviewed (and can be amended) by the portfoliomanager equities at SPF Beheer. In exceptional cases we can divert from our policy. In such situation we must provide a rationale why we do so. Exceptions are only made in case of 'grey' areas. For example, according to our policy we will vote against proposals where the total remuneration for the CEO of a company exceeds that of the sector median. However, when the difference is small, the performance of the company is better than that of the sector median, ánd the entire compensation package does not contain any undesired components (high bonus levels, unchallenging bonus targets, etc.) we can decide to support the proposal.
The portfoliomanager equities confirms the instructions that our proxy advisor send us or issues a new instruction on a specific item, including rationale. Then, the instructions are forwarded to the rest of the portfoliomanagers (including the portfoliomanager ESG) and analysts. One of them approves the final instructions and casts the votes. In the spirit of transparency, each quarter the votes casts are published on the website of our clients.
Other external managers vote based on their policy.