DPAM’s 2020 voting activity report

DPAM’s 2020 voting activity report

Active shareholdership and engagement: continued fiduciary duty in 2020

Also in 2020, an exceptionally challenging year due to the corona pandemic, proxy voting is an intrinsic part of DPAM’s fiduciary duty to be a responsible asset manager and shareholder on behalf of end investors.

Here are the key takeaways of DPAM’s 2020 voting activity report:

  • DPAM participated in 688 general and extraordinary shareholder meetings and voted on 9,571 resolutions;
  • DPAM made its voice heard for 604 corporations;
  • DPAM abstained from voting in less than 1% of the resolutions, showing its conviction to vote;
  • DPAM sent 101 letters to corporations to invite them for greater corporate governance
  • Recurring key subjects related to health and safety of employees, composition of the board of directors, audit and financial statements, executive remuneration and capital management.

Ophélie Mortier, Responsible Investment Strategist at DPAM, comments on the overarching philosophy guiding the voting decisions: “Our Voting Policy, which was adopted in 2013 defines the principles that shape our active voting decisions. Basically, we strive to uphold four major principles: the protection of shareholders, sound corporate governance, transparency and integrity of information, as well as  social, environmental and governance responsibility.

“Hugo Lasat, CEO of DPAM, contends: “We aim at exercising voting rights in a clear manner and in the best interest of sustainable development. Due to the health crisis and its economic, financial and social fallout, there has been a lively debate over shareholder governance, guided by profit maximisation, versus stakeholder governance which entails corporations adopting a broad view on societal issues. Stakeholder governance is taking the lead over shareholder governance.”

DPAM’s principles are based on established corporate governance standards and the recommendations of, but not limited to, the OECD, the ICGN (International Corporate Governance Network). They are also  based on the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, the applicable national laws derived from European directives and regulations, the Glass Lewis policies in its role of specialized firm as DPAM advisor, the TCFD (Taskforce on Climate related Financial Disclosures) guidelines and recommendations, and other voting principles applicable to the Asset Managers, as long as they do not contravene the decisions sovereignly taken and justified by the DPAM operational body.

2020: voting continues unabated

During the corona crisis, which severely hit all layers of society and corporations, DPAM continued to uphold its voting activities. Salient topics include the following:

  • Health & safety and diversity

Ophelie Mortier: “The corona pandemic resulted in more attention for health and safety of employees, an important actors in the stakeholders ecosystem.

The Shareholder Rights Directive II affected the agenda’s, primarily on the topics of remuneration, diversity of the board of directors (particularly gender diversity) as well as the oversight of the ESG and sustainability risks. Initiatives such as Climate Action 100+ require climate change to be integrated in the highest levels of corporate management.

  • Focus on Europe and US

DPAM’s voting activities focused on Europe and the US, and participated to shareholder meetings when the required minimal participation rate, as defined in the Voting Policy, was reached.

DPAM participated to 688 general and extraordinary meetings, for in total 9,571 resolutions. These figures are higher than in 2019. DPAM voted for 604 corporations, mainly in Europe and the US. This is a 5% rise.

  • Few abstain votes

Mortier continues: ”Of the 9,571 resolutions for which we voted, we abstained in just 1% of the cases, which proves we are serious about letting our voice heard”.
In 9.11% of the cases, DPAM voted against the resolution, which is in line with last year’s figures. In almost 86% of the cases, DPAM supported management, while in 10.11% of the cases, DPAM cast a negative vote, mainly regarding shareholders’ proposals related to environment but also related to social concerns

Most resolutions pertain to traditional topics: board of directors topics, audit and financial statements, executive remuneration and capital management.

  • Engagement

Mortier: ”Engagement remained an important priority for DPAM in 2020, including collaborative of individual engagement as well as a formal dialogue with companies”.
DPAM sent 101 letters in 2020, which is lower than in 2019. It may signal that some engagement topics are gradually becoming best practices.

The independence of the board of directors and executive remuneration remained an important  engagement topics in 2020.

 

About DPAM

DPAM is an independent active asset management firm and manages investment funds as well as discretionary mandates on behalf of institutional clients, for a total amount of € 43.3 billion, as of December 2020. DPAM is a sustainable investor, pioneer and innovative in responsible and sustainable investing. The firm integrates ESG across asset classes and themes and it is also an active owner. DPAM has a strong focus on research with a proprietary in-house fundamental and quantitative analyst team, supporting the firm’s asset management activities.

 

Contacts for the press:

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Arnaud Denis : +32 2 662 82 22 - press@degroofpetercam.com

International
Tomás Murillo - Head of International Sales 
+ 32 287 92 71 - T.murillo@degroofpetercam.com

Patricia Mast - Head of Strategic Marketing and Business Development 
+32 2 287 98 36  P.mast@degroofpetercam.com
 

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Arnaud Denis External Communication, Degroof Petercam
Arnaud Denis External Communication, Degroof Petercam
About Degroof Petercam

Degroof Petercam is a reference financial institution with a history dating back to 1871. As an independent group owned by family shareholders with a long term commitment, we serve private and institutional investors.

Our clients benefit from a unique combination of services in private banking, institutional asset management, investment banking (corporate finance and financial intermediation) and asset services. The total clients assets (under management, under administration and in custody) amounts to 75 billion euro.

Headquartered in Brussels, we employ more than 1,400 professionals through offices in Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland, Spain, The Netherlands, Germany and Italy.

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