The Global World of Governance & Stewardship

02 March 2016

Standard Life Investments, the global investment manager, has issued its Governance & Stewardship Annual Review for 2015. The report provides an account of its engagement and voting activities during the year as well as insights into Standard Life Investments’ views on some of the key global developments in governance & stewardship.

Standard Life Investments is a strong supporter of good stewardship and believes it is mutually beneficial for companies and long-term investors, such as Standard Life Investments, to have a relationship based on accountability, engagement and trust. Over 2015, 22% of one-to-one governance meetings were with companies outside the UK compared to 9% in 2014. Highlights included:

  • Europe – increased direct engagement with company boards. In Italy Standard Life Investments took part for the first time in the ‘vota da lista’ process by which board directors and statutory auditors are nominated to the AGM by minority shareholders.
  • Japan – Standard Life Investments continued its engagement with other investors to highlight the need for greater independent representation on boards
  • US – Standard Life Investments has expanded the scope of its engagement activities with US companies and has generally favoured proposals for proxy access that emanate from the companies themselves.
  • UK – Standard Life Investments continues to believe that audit and board succession are important themes for active engagement. Globally, the evolution of accounting and auditing standards will continue to be important.

During 2015, as well as engaging with companies about a range of corporate governance issues such as board composition, succession planning, executive pay and audit tendering, Standard Life Investments continued to hold boards to account and voted on 21,056 resolutions (2014 – 20,438) at 1,732 shareholder meetings (2014 – 1,633) voting against management recommendations on 1,248 resolutions (2014 – 907).

Guy Jubb

Commenting, Guy Jubb, Global Head of Governance & Stewardship, Standard Life Investments, said:

“The role of asset managers and their use of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors in making investment decisions is receiving increasing focus around the world. At Standard Life Investments, the analysis and mitigation of the ESG risks of companies has been integral to our investment proposition since 1992 and these activities will continue to develop as they become increasingly important to clients, advisers, regulators and policy makers.”

Mike Everett

Mike Everett, Governance & Stewardship Director, Standard Life Investments, said:

“Looking forward, we will further strengthen our capabilities and use the various channels open to us as an increasingly influential global asset manager to raise the standards of governance and stewardship around the world for the benefit of our clients.”