Sweden’s AP2 votes against three-quarters of pay proposals at foreign firms

New Corporate Governance report released

Andra AP-fonden, the SEK220bn (€24bn) Swedish government fund AP2, withheld its support for almost three-quarters of the pay proposals at non-domestic annual meetings in the past year.

AP2 voted against or abstained from voting at 74% of the remuneration proposals at 450 foreign companies during the period, according to its new Corporate Governance Report.

It puts it alongside sister funds such as Tredje AP-fonden (AP3), which revealed last month that it voted against 75% of pay motions at foreign firms.

In all, AP2, the largest of the country’s buffer funds, voted against 22% of all the proposals at foreign AGMs.

The report also covers the fund’s investments in forestry and agricultural real estate – which it says are a way to reduce portfolio risk over possible environmental and climatic change.“A reallocation of assets in the strategic portfolio from equities to forest and agricultural real estate will also contribute to a less carbon-dioxide- intensive portfolio,” it says. Chief Investment Strategist Tomas Franken is quoted in the report as saying there must be “no doubt” about who is the rightful landowner of agricultural land and forestry. The fund has visited farms in the USA, Australia and Brazil to look at the way land is farmed.

In May this year it formed an agriculture real estate venture with TIAACREF of the US. Earlier this month it was part of a group of institutional investors managing $1.3trn behind the launch of the Principles for Responsible Investment in Farmland.

Additionally in the new report, AP2’s CEO Eva Halvarsson continued the Swedish investment community’s opposition to the forthcoming European Union Green Paper on Corporate Governance, saying it could lead to “an erosion of proprietary rights”. AP2