AllianzGI voting at AGMs shines light on gap in governance standards

Summary

Allianz Global Investors, one of the world’s leading active investment managers, has today published its annual analysis of how it voted on more than 100,000 shareholder and management proposals in 2020, with figures revealing a continued and stark disparity globally in corporate governance standards.

  • Compensation related proposals continued to stand out as the most contentious area globally during 2020
  • Strong support for shareholder resolutions on environmental , climate and human rights topics
  • UK leads the way in corporate governance standards for 4th consecutive year; Japan and USA continue to lag behind

Allianz Global Investors, one of the world’s leading active investment managers, has today published its annual analysis of how it voted on more than 100,000 shareholder and management proposals in 2020, with figures revealing a continued and stark disparity globally in corporate governance standards.

Participating in 10,183 (2019: 9,532) shareholder meetings over the course of 2020, AllianzGI voted against, withheld or abstained from at least one agenda item at 72% (2019: 77%) of all meetings globally. It opposed 23% (2019: 24%) of all resolutions globally. These figures, as well as an increase in the number of meetings voted at, 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.

Commenting, Matt Christensen. Global Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing at Allianz Global Investors, said:

“Proxy voting plays a crucial role in AllianzGI’s stewardship process and is fundamental to us an active investor. Our votes are the outcome of year round research and continuous dialogue with the companies. It also enables us to use our voting power to reassure companies of our views and expectations, and to protect and advance the interests of clients.”

2021 will be a test for the application of company’s compensation policy

Compensation related proposals continued to stand out as the most contentious area globally during 2020, with AllianzGI voting against 49% (2019: 48%) of all compensation related management proposals. The key reasons for voting against compensation related proposals were when packages were not supported by robust and challenging targets, and when there was not sufficient transparency of performance KPIs and actual targets. As of 2021, AllianzGI amended its Proxy Voting Guidelines, scrutinizing generous pay proposals on a case by case basis whenever companies received substantial direct state aid, substantial lay-offs were recorded or dividend cuts happened (not prescribed by regulators) as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Reflecting on the impact of the pandemic on proxy voting and engagement, 2021 will be a test for the application of the compensation policy, in particular with respect to target setting, the performance share plans, and ensuring that packages reflect changes in economic perspectives as a result of Covid.” continued Christensen.

Reducing environmental and social risks

AllianzGI considers voting on environmental and social matters a key part of our stewardship programme. During 2020, AllianzGI showed strong support for shareholder resolutions on these matters. It backed almost 90% of all proposals requesting improved reporting on climate change and sustainability and 100% of proposals on community environmental impact. Human rights were another area where we showed strong support, voting for almost 95% of all proposals. This includes any human rights items, such as improving company’s human rights standards or policies.

Promoting high-quality boards

Despite a slight decrease in votes against director related proposals, (26% in 2020 vs. 27% in 2019), major concerns remain with respect to a sound and balanced set-up of many boards. AllianzGI voted against several companies where the board of directors and/or board committees were not sufficiently independent as a result of directors with long tenure or who are representatives from major shareholders. Over-boarding also remains a major concern. We stood fully behind corporate governance related shareholder resolutions, supporting 100% of all proposals requesting an independent Chair of the Board. AllianzGI supported shareholder proposals that sought to improve corporate governance practices of investee companies and to enhance shareholder rights.

Total percentage votes against all management proposals by location in 2020

 United Kingdom 5%
 Sweden 9%
 China 12%
 Spain 14%
 Netherlands 16% 
 Germany 17% 
 Switzerland 18%
 Taiwan 18%
 Belgium
19%
 France
20%
 Hong Kong
28%
 Italy
34%
 USA 34%
 Japan 41%

Total percentage votes against compensation related proposals by location in 2020

 United Kingdom 12%
 Sweden 21%
 Japan 22%
 Switzerland 23%
 France 26% 
 Germany 26% 
 Belgium 38%
 Spain 39%
 Netherlands
46%
 Italy
47%
 Taiwan
69%
 China
70%
 USA 74%
 Hong Kong 89%

Total percentage votes against director related proposals by location in 2020

 United Kingdom 5%
 Belgium 13%
 China 13%
 Netherlands 13%
 Sweden 13% 
 Spain 15% 
 Switzerland 15%
 France 18%
 Germany
19%
 Taiwan
25%
 USA
29%
 Hong Kong
37%
 Japan 44%
 Italy 50%

Proxy voting

For further information please contact:
Sarah Einig, Tel. +44 203 246 7846 Email: : sarah.einig@allianzgi.com


Notes to editors

AllianzGI provides real time disclosure of all votes cast, including commentary on votes against management and abstentions. To view AllianzGI’s Global Proxy voting tool, please visit https://vds.issgovernance.com/vds/#/MjQwMQ==/

For more information on AllianzGI’s approach to active stewardship, please visit: https://www.allianzgi.com/en/our-firm/esg/active-stewardship#activestewardship 


About Allianz Global Investors:

Allianz Global Investors is a leading active asset manager with 754 investment professionals in 25 offices worldwide and managing EUR 546 billion in assets for individuals, families and institutions*.

Active is the most important word in our vocabulary. Active is how we create and share value with clients. We believe in solving, not selling, and in adding value beyond pure economic gain. We invest for the long term, employing our innovative investment expertise and global resources. Our goal is to ensure a superior experience for our clients, wherever they are based and whatever their investment needs.

Active is: Allianz Global Investors


*Data as at 30 September 2020.

AllianzGI accelerates its sustainable investment drive

Summary

AllianzGI, one of the world’s largest active investment managers, has announced that 74 of its equity, fixed income and multi-asset funds will join its current sustainable investment offering.

  • 74 additional funds to become sustainable (70 billion Euros Assets under management)
  • New stewardship strategy: Climate Engagement with Outcome approach
  • Investing involves risk. The value of an investment and the income from it will fluctuate and investors may not get back the principal invested. Investing in the water-related resource sector may be significantly affected by events relating to international political and economic developments, water conservation, the success of exploration projects, commodity prices and tax and other government regulations. Past performance is not indicative of future performance. This is a marketing communication. It is for informational purposes only. This document does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security and shall not be deemed an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security.

    The views and opinions expressed herein, which are subject to change without notice, are those of the issuer or its affiliated companies at the time of publication. Certain data used are derived from various sources believed to be reliable, but the accuracy or completeness of the data is not guaranteed and no liability is assumed for any direct or consequential losses arising from their use. The duplication, publication, extraction or transmission of the contents, irrespective of the form, is not permitted.

    This material has not been reviewed by any regulatory authorities. In mainland China, it is used only as supporting material to the offshore investment products offered by commercial banks under the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investors scheme pursuant to applicable rules and regulations. This document does not constitute a public offer by virtue of Act Number 26.831 of the Argentine Republic and General Resolution No. 622/2013 of the NSC. This communication's sole purpose is to inform and does not under any circumstance constitute promotion or publicity of Allianz Global Investors products and/or services in Colombia or to Colombian residents pursuant to part 4 of Decree 2555 of 2010. This communication does not in any way aim to directly or indirectly initiate the purchase of a product or the provision of a service offered by Allianz Global Investors. Via reception of his document, each resident in Colombia acknowledges and accepts to have contacted Allianz Global Investors via their own initiative and that the communication under no circumstances does not arise from any promotional or marketing activities carried out by Allianz Global Investors. Colombian residents accept that accessing any type of social network page of Allianz Global Investors is done under their own responsibility and initiative and are aware that they may access specific information on the products and services of Allianz Global Investors. This communication is strictly private and confidential and may not be reproduced. This communication does not constitute a public offer of securities in Colombia pursuant to the public offer regulation set forth in Decree 2555 of 2010. This communication and the information provided herein should not be considered a solicitation or an offer by Allianz Global Investors or its affiliates to provide any financial products in Brazil, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay. In Australia, this material is presented by Allianz Global Investors Asia Pacific Limited (“AllianzGI AP”) and is intended for the use of investment consultants and other institutional/professional investors only, and is not directed to the public or individual retail investors. AllianzGI AP is not licensed to provide financial services to retail clients in Australia. AllianzGI AP (Australian Registered Body Number 160 464 200) is exempt from the requirement to hold an Australian Foreign Financial Service License under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) pursuant to ASIC Class Order (CO 03/1103) with respect to the provision of financial services to wholesale clients only. AllianzGI AP is licensed and regulated by Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission under Hong Kong laws, which differ from Australian laws.

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