Proxy Voting

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Proxy Voting

Postby Norbert Schlenker » 11 Feb 2006 03:48

I'm curious to know how many FWF readers that invest in individual equities take their proxies seriously. It's the start of annual meeting season, with the banks going first because of their October year ends but things will be in full swing in a couple of months.

Does anyone care? If so, do you have standard rules that govern how you vote on directors and proposals? Have you ever considered a formal policy like mutual funds now must have (and disclose), e.g. PH&N's guidelines?
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Postby Bylo Selhi » 11 Feb 2006 08:28

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Re: Proxy Voting

Postby NormR » 11 Feb 2006 14:29

Norbert Schlenker wrote:I'm curious to know how many FWF readers that invest in individual equities take their proxies seriously. It's the start of annual meeting season, with the banks going first because of their October year ends but things will be in full swing in a couple of months.

Does anyone care? If so, do you have standard rules that govern how you vote on directors and proposals? Have you ever considered a formal policy like mutual funds now must have (and disclose), e.g. PH&N's guidelines?


I do, but only if it might make a difference/there's a big issue. I'll also be heading out to a few annual meetings this year to ask a few questions. :D
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Postby AltaRed » 11 Feb 2006 14:46

I don't bother most of the time. I don't own enough stock of any one company to even be in the round off error several decimal places deep. I only do if I am really twisted off at something.
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Postby Shakespeare » 11 Feb 2006 14:48

I don't bother most of the time. I don't own enough stock of any one company to even be in the round off error several decimal places deep.
Ditto.

(I know, I know. But the way to vote with a stock if you don't agree with management is with your feet: sell it.)
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Postby Bylo Selhi » 11 Feb 2006 14:52

Shakespeare wrote:But the way to vote with a stock if you don't agree with management is with your feet: sell it.)

A dissenting vote sends a message even if the numbers aren't large enough to affect the outcome.
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Postby sydney2 » 11 Feb 2006 15:21

I vote by phone with control number always. When I own shares of company I will go with what management decides, if things change I will sell, and I don't own enough of anything (what is enough to make a difference??) that my vote would make a hill of difference.

I would attend meetings if they were held in the East the ones lately have been out West. :lol:
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Postby DenisD » 11 Feb 2006 21:01

Usually don't vote. Most of my stocks are picked by stock screens for the short term. In fact, I wish there was a web site where I could say, "Don't send me any Annual Reports!" Not looking forward to getting 40 or 50 in the next few months.
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Postby dakota » 13 Feb 2006 06:14

I only vote when I disagree with their proposals
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Postby Norbert Schlenker » 12 Feb 2007 14:50

It's bank proxy season again and BMO arrived first in the mail.

In the proxy solicitation, much is made of the fact that BMO doesn't issue regular old stock options to executives but restricts ability to exercise depending on the performance of the underlying stock. Much is made of how this demonstrates good governance and alignment of executive interests with shareholder interests.

Then I came across this one sentence in the discussion of the compensation of the soon to be retiring CEO.

Under the terms of the Plan, the Committee has exercised its discretion to convert the 100% price-conditioned options that were issued to Mr. Comper within the three years preceding his retirement to 50% price-conditioned options upon Mr. Comper's retirement.

The effect of exercising that discretion is to hand Mr. Comper an extra few million, no good reason given.

I'm voting against (well, I can't, but I'll withhold my vote for) the members of the Compensation Committee as a result.
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Postby boib22 » 12 Feb 2007 15:35

AltaRed wrote:I don't bother most of the time. I don't own enough stock of any one company to even be in the round off error several decimal places deep. I only do if I am really twisted off at something.
Pretty well sums it up for me.
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Postby martingale » 12 Feb 2007 19:39

If the rules were changed so that the incumbent board could not send out proxy forms along with a recommendation on who you should return as your agent, then it might matter who you vote for. Perhaps what's needed is an internet website to help minority shareholders identify individuals who would best represent their interests, and have mass numbers of shareholders all assign their proxy vote to the same investor advocate.

On the other hand, perhaps that investor advocate really should be your mutual fund manager.
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Postby Bylo Selhi » 12 Feb 2007 20:27

martingale wrote:On the other hand, perhaps that investor advocate really should be your mutual fund manager.
Should be maybe, but probably won't be. Recall that in the US mutual fund companies, including I'm sad to say Vanguard, strongly resisted legislation to force them to publish how they voted lest they offend the managements of the firms whose pension plan management business they coveted.

OTOH, CPPIB + OTPP + OMERS alone have ~$250B in assets. In general their interests are aligned with ours. I wonder if individual investors could somehow convince one of them to accept our proxies and cast our votes the same way they cast theirs.
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Postby WishingWealth » 12 Feb 2007 21:19

I'm not sure any more where I read this but I was quite surpised that proxy votes are only recommendations for the board/CEOs to act.

May have been Bogle or a CALPERS story but even with the votes cast strongly in favor of some recommendations, some companies have simply ignored the voters wishes. It was then left up to the Pension Management to decide to dump the stock - and probably take a loss as soon as they try to offload a large chunk.

Sorry if a bit muddy; from memory only.

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Postby Chuck » 13 Feb 2007 09:57

Norbert Schlenker wrote:It's bank proxy season again and BMO arrived first in the mail.
...
I'm voting against (well, I can't, but I'll withhold my vote for) the members of the Compensation Committee as a result.

I did the same. I also voted for the shareholder proposals designed to reign in executive compensation to some degree. Some of the other more goofy shareholder proposals did not get my support (like the one from CIBC retirees suggesting to boost their pension payouts).
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Proxy Voting

Postby Peculiar_Investor » 25 Oct 2011 11:57

From today's G&M -- Reforms sought to proxy voting system in Canada - The Globe and Mail.
At a Toronto conference on Monday, officials from both companies and investor groups outlined their mounting frustration with the excessively complex process for counting shareholder votes at annual meetings, saying the system is error-prone and lacks transparency to be able to spot mistakes when they happen.

As an individual investor who feels relatively powerless in the proxy voting process and who only occasionally exercises my proxy rights, this article leaves me with even less confidence in the existing system.

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Re: Proxy Voting

Postby Rickson9 » 25 Oct 2011 13:17

I hated this issue as well. I need somebody controlling and running the business with a large amount of shares to feel comfortable investing now.
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Re: Proxy Voting

Postby Insomniac » 13 Feb 2012 23:23

The Claymore --> BlackRock proxy came in the mail today.

I voted to agree with the management recommendation.

Currently, all of my ETFs are either Claymore or iShares. (oops, almost forgot: I do have some VAB) I guess in the not too distant future all my ETFs will be iShares - can't see anything wrong with that.
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Re: Proxy Voting

Postby Bylo Selhi » 13 Feb 2012 23:37

Insomniac wrote:can't see anything wrong with that.

I can. We need to support Vanguard in Canada, if for no other reason than, to put MER pressure on BlackRock.
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Re: Proxy Voting

Postby adrian2 » 14 Feb 2012 14:29

Bylo Selhi wrote:I can. We need to support Vanguard in Canada, if for no other reason than, to put MER pressure on BlackRock.

I have voted with my money and moved from iShares to Vanguard, even though Vanguard Canada's offerings do not completely fit my desires.
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Re:

Postby kumquat » 15 Feb 2012 02:23

AltaRed wrote:I don't bother most of the time. I don't own enough stock of any one company to even be in the round off error several decimal places deep. I only do if I am really twisted off at something.

That's me, except I've withheld votes, every year, for one moron director of one company I've held since its IPO 20-some years ago.
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