June 10, 2013
TORONTO – As proxy voting season winds down, the Public Equities team at the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan reports that it voted at 61% more meetings this year than last.
Teachers' has a policy of voting every share it owns at every meeting. April and May were extremely busy this year, with 90% of the votes for the year to date taking place during those two months. From January 1 to May 31, OTPP had voted at 1,334 meetings, up from 831 over the same period last year.
The increase in proxy votes mainly reflects additional index investing, which brought more smaller holdings into the portfolio. While Teachers' is an active portfolio manager, the inclusion of index holdings makes sense for the purpose of diversification.
Geographically, Teachers' vote pattern was little changed from last year – 10% Canadian, 55% U.S. and 35% international.
The highest profile issue continues to be "Say on Pay," which came up at 732 meetings at which Teachers' voted this year. Say on Pay is a measure that has been adopted by several large Canadian companies, giving shareholders a non-binding vote on how the companies compensate their senior executives. Although the vote is non-binding, proponents of the measure say it has introduced transparency into the compensation process and improved communications between companies and shareholders.
With $129.5 billion in net assets as of December 31, 2012, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada. An independent organization, it invests the pension fund's assets and administers the pensions of 303,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario. For more information, including our 2012 and previous annual reports, visit www.otpp.com. Follow us on Twitter @OtppInfo