The largest members of the £15bn (€20.7bn) Church Investors Group (CIG) in the UK have adopted a common voting policy at company annual general meetings this year for the first time.
Administered by proxy voting firm ISS, the CIG says its new collective voting initiative will “further amplify” the church’s voice on issues such as board diversity and auditor independence.
The organisations involved include the Church Commissioners for England, the CBF Church of England Investment Funds, the Church of England Pension Board, the Central Finance Board of the Methodist Church, and the United Reformed Church Ministers Pensions Trust.
A feature of the new policy is that there will be a vote against all members of a company’s Remuneration Committee where a company’s Remuneration Report or Policy causes the highest level of concern.
“As responsible investors members of the Church Investors Group have long used their voting rights to promote the best standards of corporate governance at investee companies,” said James Corah, Secretary to the CIG. “By joining together we are able to clearly communicate the issues that matter.“The group has sent the new voting policy, which came into effect last month, to all the companies in the FTSE350. Stakeholder proposals will be considered on the “individual merit”. Home page.
Selected features of the new policy:
ABSTAIN: Report and Accounts where a company is included in CIG’s UK climate change laggards engagement programme.
OPPOSE: Election/re-election of a combined Chief Executive/Chair (except where there are mitigating circumstances)
OPPOSE: Election/re-election of the Chair when they serve in an executive position (except where there are mitigating circumstances)
OPPOSE: Re-election of the Chair of the Nomination Committee at FTSE 100 constituent companies where the board does not contain 25% gender diversity and the re-election of all members of the Nomination Committee when the board contains no gender diversity.
OPPOSE: Remuneration that breaches any of four principles, including that ‘non-financial’ metrics should be incorporated into variable remuneration schemes.