AllianzGI voting at AGMs underscores disparity in governance standards

Active investment manager Allianz Global Investors has published analysis of how it voted on nearly 100,000 shareholder and management proposals in 2019, with figures revealing disparities in corporate governance standards from one country to another.

Participating in 9,532 (2018: 8,535) shareholder meetings over the course of 2019, AllianzGI voted against, withheld or abstained from at least one agenda item at 77 per cent (2018: 75 per cent) of all meetings globally. It opposed 24 per cent (2018: 24 per cent) of all resolutions globally. These figures reflect AllianzGI’s highly active and globally consistent approach to stewardship and a willingness to vote against proposals that do not meet its expectations of investee companies as well as fulfilling its duty to act in the interests of clients by considering each proposal on merit.

Compensation related proposals continued to stand out as the most contentious area globally during 2019, with AllianzGI voting against 48 per cent (2018: 52 per cent) of all compensation related management proposals. A large proportion of these votes were driven by concerns over insufficient alignment between the management and shareholders as expressed through weak links between pay and performance as well as KPIs and targets under incentive schemes which did not meet key business value drivers. 
Commenting, Eugenia Unanyants-Jackson, Global Head of ESG Research at Allianz Global Investors, says: “We treat proxy voting as integral to our fiduciary responsibility to clients and to Allianz Global Investors’ stewardship process. We see active participation in shareholder meetings of the companies we invest in as a form of engagement; an opportunity to communicate with company management, other investors and the market.
“AllianzGI recognizes that voting power comes with responsibility and we actively undertake and encourage constructive engagement with investee companies. At the same time, we use our voting power to inform companies of our views and expectations, and to protect and advance the interests of our clients, which means that we are prepared to vote against management as and when necessary to achieve these objectives.”