CANADA - The majority of pension plans are failing to give investment managers direction on proxy voting, a survey from the Shareholders Association for Research and Education (SHARE) has found.
SHARE recommended a number of steps for pension plans to ensure their proxies were being voted in a way that enhanced long-term shareholder value and was in the interests of plan members and their beneficiaries.
These included establishing proxy-voting guidelines and monitoring how the plan's proxies were voted.
It said: "We applaud those pension trustees who are actively overseeing their proxy voting, and encourage those who are not to follow their lead.
"Proxy votes are plan assets, and the outcomes of a proxy vote can affect the value of a company's shares."
Marcelle Goldenberg, chair of the board of trustees for the Nursing Homes and Related Industries Pension Plan, which has assets of CAD$630m, said trustees were ultimately accountable for the long-term protection and sustainability of pension assets.
"Making sure votes are cast in the best interests of plan members is a critical part of a trustees fiduciary duty and one we take very seriously," Goldenberg said.
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