The Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) ‘2013 Key Proxy Vote Survey Questionnaire’ shows one prominent issue on this year’s key vote list is advisory votes on executive compensation or ‘say-on-pay.’ For example, at Barrick Gold Corporation, an overwhelming 85 per cent of shareholders voted against management recognizing that paying its top five executive officers a total of $56.8 million was particularly excessive given its net loss of $670 million last year. Pay votes at Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian Natural Resources give pension trustees, foundations, Aboriginal trusts, religious investors, and other institutional investors an opportunity to encourage their investment managers and proxy service providers to disclose how they voted on 21 of the most important ballot issues in 2013. “These may sound like business as usual proxy issues, but when you dig into the details, I am confident that trustees will want to know how their investment managers and proxy service providers voted on their behalf,” says Catherine Smith, senior proxy analyst at SHARE and author of the annual key proxy vote survey report. Proxy ballot issues can help to shed light on the attention and care with which investment managers and proxy voting services are voting proxies on behalf of clients.
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