Equity investment managers don’t just represent the interests of their clients by buying and selling stocks.  They also represent their interests through proxy voting; voting on Boards of Directors and resolutions related to how the company is run.

Proxies matter.  They relate to Board composition, appointment of auditors, executive compensation and corporate social responsibility.

One can impact a company through proxy voting regardless of whether a supported resolution is successful.  An executive compensation resolution, say, with a weak mandate may influence the company to use more modest executive compensation in the future.

SHARE, Fonds de solidarite FTQ and Columbia Institute have issued their 12th Annual Key Proxy Vote Survey.  It is located at www.proxyvotesurvey.ca.

I suggest you read the survey, consider the questions and consider the answers your investment managers gave.  What answers would you have given to the 25 questions had you been asked directly?  If your answers are different, you need to tell your investment managers.

If you are thinking about hiring a new investment manager, ask them about specific proxy votes, including those in the survey.  Make sure that they are going to treat your proxy votes as one of your important assets.