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10 January 2022 • Articles

L'Economia del Corriere della Sera

Institutional investors are more active and aligned: the latest voting trends from the 2021 European AGM season

This article by L'Economia del Corriere della Sera discusses some of the key findings from Morrow Sodali’s recent Lighthouse, EMEA edition. This edition highlights common themes emerging from shareholder meetings as a result of the pandemic and the renewed focus on corporate governance during the 2021 European proxy season across eight European markets (France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom).

The pandemic and the measures taken as a result did not impede shareholders from attending the AGMs and exercising their voting rights. With specific regard to international institutional investors, who are the major shareholders in most of the listed companies, the main points to note include: the increase in attendance at the AGMs which supports the trend of previous years; the support for board elections across the markets which had inconsistent fluctuations or slightly increased (as in Italy); and the approval of remuneration-related items which has improved or in specific cases seen a decrease in dissenting votes.

“Remarkably, the institutional investors had a rather generous approach towards management proposals, as if to recognize the efforts and good performance during the pandemic and to feature a transitional side of this 2021 proxy season,” comments Andrea Di Segni, Managing Director of Morrow Sodali.

In Italy, the only country using the slate voting system, the majority slate vote this year saw an increase in average support by 4.3% growing from 33% to 37.6%, while lists presented by the outgoing boards achieved an increase of 15%.

Average support of executive remuneration at Italian FTSE MIB companies slightly increased when compared to 2020. In only a few cases the remuneration policy proposed by management was rejected at the AGM. “It means that the Italian issuers and their boards have taken into greater consideration shareholders engagement campaigns with institutional investors," remarks Di Segni, "but it also means a rather soft approach of the funds themselves, that will hardly replicate in 2022.”

Read the full article here (in Italian).

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