We do not communicate our rationale for any of our votes (whether abstaining, voting against management or voting for management) during the formal proxy process. However, portfolio managers do informally communicate their thoughts during one-on-one company management meetings.
Direct communication with management is an important part of our investment process, and a fundamental part of our approach to responsible investment. Constructive engagements create a forum to discuss business strategy, operations, governance and a wide variety of other issues, such as, but not limited to, ESG issues. This is done with the goal of establishing an open dialogue between our investment team and company management. In addition, we may also engage with other stakeholders such as suppliers and customers as part of our process. Engagements take place both before the initial investment is made and as part of our ongoing monitoring of the positions in our portfolios. The level of direct engagement may also vary based on several factors such as materiality of the issue, the size of the investment and range of potential impacts to the company.
At Royce we recognize that ESG issues can affect the valuation and performance of a company. As such, ESG considerations are an underlying influence on all of our engagement efforts.