The participants involved in our voting process are discussed under LEA 12.2. Voting decisions are taken internally as a partnership between the GS Team and the individual portfolio managers and we do not outsource the voting function. Nevertheless, we understand the value and importance of an external perspective as voting issues can incorporate various considerations such as local market context, changes in listing rules and stakeholder issues. Therefore, we also subscribe to two proxy research advisors, ISS and IIAS. However, the ultimate decision and accountability rests with our fund manager, we do not automatically follow third party voting recommendations and each ballot is inspected by the GS Team. In this decision-making process, the criteria we use to review service provider's recommendations include our own knowledge of the company gained through engagement history, analysis of company documents such as annual reports and proxy statements and input from our ESG data providers.
In situations where there is more than one decisionmaker we decide on a case-by-case basis. As noted above the ultimate decision-making power rests with our fund manager, however, we will consult the views of the other decisionmaker in this process.
Where relevant, we are open to discussions with other external parties who may have a position for interest in the vote. This could be the case for shareholder motions or companies at the centre of stakeholder concerns. This could include clients that have a specific policy preference or other stakeholders such as a trade union or shareholder group that could be forwarding a motion. We determine voting for our own funds and where the segregated client has provided us with a mandate. However, as responsible investors, we are open to dialogue and willing to listen to external parties.
We are part of a network called the Corporate Governance Forum (CGF). This a collection of London-based ESG professionals who convene weekly / fortnightly calls to primarily focus on company related engagement and this can refer to an exchange of ideas around voting. Again, the decision rests with our fund managers, this collective does not create joint voting decisions but we think it is beneficial to keep an open approach.