Canada’s Shareholder Association for Research & Education (SHARE) and Groupe Investissement Responsable (GIR) have joined forces to launch a single proxy voting service.
The deal merges the voting services of both organisations, creating a new GIR. SHARE will own 30% of the new service, and will be part of the new GIR board of directors.
"Unity makes strength," said Olivier Gamache, who will chair the board of the new GIR, after being the CEO of the original entity for 14 years.
Thomas Estinès, formerly Chief Analyst, is CEO of the new GIR, which will retain all operations of the old GIR in addition to the proxy voting services formerly provided by SHARE, the organisation stated.
SHARE will separately continue to offer shareholder engagement services to its network of more than 30 institutional investors representing $23bn (€14.7bn) in assets under management. It will also carry on independently with advocacy, research, development and mobilisation activities. .
The merger comes as the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) holds prepares to host a meeting to discuss whether ownership thresholds should be higher in order to submit shareholder resolutions in the US, in the first move of its kind for 35 years.
This is the second installment of the US proxy reform, after the SEC published rule amendments in July that categorised proxy advice as ‘solicitation of shareholder votes’, requiring proxy advisors to share their statements with companies at the same time as investors.
Ahead of today’s hearing, a group of investors accused the SEC of withholding data analysis that could bring into question its efforts to change voting rules.
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