Proxy Voting

We use proxy voting as a complement to our engagement activities to exert extra influence over companies we are engaging with or just to signal that some sustainability issues are important to us.
Considering the fact that some sustainability issues, such as climate change, cannot be solved by investors and companies alone, we do also express our views regarding these pressing issues to governments and authorities.

Use of Voting Rights

The framework for the use of voting rights for funds managed by the Storebrand Group is set out in sections 2-24 of the Norwegian Regulations on Securities Funds and in the industry recommendations from the Norwegian Fund and Asset Management Association.

The ultimate responsibility for the execution of corporate governance in the Storebrand Group’s funds lies with the Board of Directors of the respective fund management company. The daily execution is delegated to the portfolio managers of each fund and activities are reported back to the Board. The Board annually evaluates the execution of corporate governance.

Guidelines for Voting

Voting rights must be exercised to the benefit of the fund in question, with the objective of securing the best possible risk-adjusted returns for unit holders. Normally, the portfolio manager assesses how the voting rights are to be used. In all cases where we vote, the respective portfolio manager familiarises him or herself with the matters to be discussed at the general meeting and decides how to vote. Voting rights are exercised directly by the fund management company or by using a proxy voting platform. For details see Voting Policy.

The Storebrand Group typically votes against management in the following situations:

  • Inadequate information ahead of meeting
  • Quality of Board and its members
  • Anti- takeover mechanisms
  • Unnecessary or unfair changes in capital structure
  • Excessive executive compensation

Specific situations may call for unique responses and we will always take market and company conditions into consideration. To the extent that voting rights have been exercised in controversial cases or where the Storebrand Group has voted against the Board’s or management’s recommended course of action, the Storebrand Group will disclose the voting rationale. A vote disclosure is sent to the [company’s] Board and our unit holders are informed via the Storebrand Group website.

Voting Process

The Storebrand Group has selected Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”), an independent service provider, as the platform for our proxy voting activities. ISS provides notices of general meetings and comprehensive information about the companies, the voting items on the agenda and recommendations. Funds managed by the Storebrand Group will vote according to our own voting policy, and always in what we deem to be the best interest of our funds. When we do not have a policy in place for a specific ballot item, we will typically follow the ISS recommendation. We review our relationship with ISS on an annual basis, including the quality and effectiveness of the services provided. Each fund has a custodian approved by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway. The custodian bank also provides information related to general meetings.

Securities Lending

The Storebrand Group engages in stock lending but will normally recall shares so that its funds can vote for at least 50 % of share ownership at a general meeting. Securities lending does not compromise our funds’ ability to focus on sustainability.

Inside Information

The Storebrand Group is dependent on access to company information in order to assess any challenges related to corporate governance. It is also important to rIn relation to the exercise of corporate governance, the Storebrand Group believes it has a clear understanding of the rules on inside information and will always act within these laws. We similarly expect that companies and their advisors also have an awareness of relevant legislation and do not put the Storebrand Group in an insider position without our consent.

Proxy Voting Statistics Dashboard

Source: ISS Governance

A fund having performed well in the past is no guarantee for future returns. Other factors with an impact on how a fund may perform in the future include market developments, the fund manager's performance, the fund's risk profile, and management fees. When the shares a fund is invested in decline in value, it may lead to negative returns.