PROXY UPDATE: ISS 2021 PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES UPDATE

We previously published a review of ISS’ proposed amended voting policies derived from its policy survey results submitted by corporate issuers, clients and stakeholders (click here to view that issue of Proxy Update). The deadline for feedback on the proposed voting policy changes was October 26 and in the time since ISS has honed and published its final voting policy updates (click here for a link to the policy updates) for all meetings after February 1, 2021.

Throughout 2020 ISS gathered information from investor clients, corporate issuers and internal research teams along with reviews of academic research and market studies to craft an updated voting policy for each market region. Two roundtable discussions, with 11 institutional investor clients, were conducted this past year to engage in discussion on a myriad of topics including racial and ethnic diversity at the board level, shareholder rights plans, audit oversight and other governance related topics. Additional roundtable discussions were held with institutional investors to promote conversations on compensation in the COVID era, board responsiveness to a low say on pay vote, climate change risk and social shareholder proposals.  The updates to ISS' own voting guidelines also influence the voting guidelines of its clients where ISS’ research teams craft specific policies to cater to investors’ varying stewardship principles.