Staff Writers of TINZ
Wellington, April 10, 2019
In response to the Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund is proactively reviewing the breadth of its portfolio.
This time, its focus is on possible exclusion of all firearms manufacturers, beyond existing exclusions in the cluster munitions and nuclear arms sectors.
Publicly accessible records are provided of the Fund’s voting at annual general meetings of the 6000 listed companies in which it has invested. Each decision is recorded for stakeholder and public viewing on the Fund’s Voting Reporting Platform.
This is an excellent example of publicly available open data towards which the public sector as a whole is tasked with providing. Informative, high-level graphical displays of search results compare Board’s decisions with management’s recommendations. Detailed drill-down is provided to individual resolutions/proposals and resultant Board votes.
While the platform provides search filtering by date-range, market (country) and/or specific company name (name, security ID or ticker), it does not provide an industry sector filter.
The best practice
The Fund’s transparency practices align with investment managers around the globe who already allow stakeholder access to historical voting data. The Fund has earned high rankings on various global transparency indices over many years.
NZ Super Fund Head of Responsible Investment Anne-Maree O’Connor said that the change brought the fund in line with investment managers around the globe who already allow stakeholder access to historical voting data.
“Given its importance to shareholder oversight of directors and boards, our aim is for the Fund’s votes to reflect the essential elements of good governance: transparency, board alignment with shareholder interests, long-term strategy, appropriate remuneration, business ethics and shareholder rights,” she said.
“The Fund’s voting information will be useful for companies, investors and other stakeholders in the listed markets, and making it available on our website is consistent with our organisational commitment to transparency,” Ms O’Connor said.
The above article, written by Transparency International New Zealand Staff, appeared in Transparency Times, April, 2019 issue.