Decisions on how to vote proxies will be made on a company-by-company and resolution-by-resolution basis. Where appropriate and practical to do so, we will seek to cast votes in accordance with the voting principles in the BT Stewardship Policy via our own direct voting activities or through the exercise of voting rights by our external investment managers.
The proxy voting principles detailed in the BT Stewardship Policy apply to Australian and international securities, however consideration may also be given to local market best practice. The overriding principle is that votes are exercised in the long-term best interests of customers.
We provide authority to investment managers to exercise any right to vote attached to a security. From time to time we may direct external investment managers how to vote under certain circumstances or may restrict an investment manager from voting. In the absence of any direction or restriction from us, external investment managers must vote according to their own proxy voting policies, in the long-term best interests of customers. We will review our investment managers’ proxy voting policies for consistency with the BT Stewardship Policy. If an inconsistency arises, we may accept an investment manager’s policy with reasonable explanation for the differences and their application, or alternatively require the manager to exercise voting rights according to the BT Stewardship Policy.Where an investment manager elects not to vote, the investment manager is expected to keep records demonstrating the rationale for such a decision and only not vote for a good reason.
Resolutions involving contentious issues will generally be considered by the BT investment team and applied across the options issued by BT entities where we act as investment manager. To assist in decision-making, we may seek the views of our external investment managers, may conduct research internally, may use the resources of external advisory services and may meet with the company subject to the vote. In the event that we give a direction to external investment managers in relation to the appointment of a proxy and the way in which the proxy should be voted, the investment manager must use its best endeavours to implement the direction. If a voting situation arises that is not covered by either the external investment manager’s policy or the BT Stewardship Policy, and no direction has been given, the investment manager must vote as if it were a fiduciary investing for the long-term (over 10 years). The external investment manager may also contact the BT investment team to agree an approach.