Proxy Voting and Governance
The Committee recognizes that the responsibility for the daily management of a company’s operations and strategic planning is entrusted to the company’s management team, subject to oversight by the company’s board of directors. As a general matter, our Member Firms invest in companies believed to be led by competent management and the Committee customarily votes in support of management proposals and consistent with management’s recommendations. However, the Committee believes that Member Firms, in their role as fiduciaries, must express their view on the performance of the directors and officers of the companies in which clients are invested and how these clients’ interests as shareholders are being represented. Accordingly, the Committee will vote against those proposals that it believes would negatively impact the economic value of clients’ investments – even if those proposals are supported or recommended by company management.
The Committee seeks to vote on proxies of non-U.S. companies through application of the Voting Guidelines. However, corporate governance practices, disclosure requirements and voting operations vary significantly among the various non-U.S. markets in which our clients invest. In these markets, the Committee seeks to submit proxy votes in a manner consistent with the Voting Guidelines, while taking into account the different legal and regulatory requirements. Many non-U.S. markets require that securities be “blocked” or registered to vote at a company’s meeting. Absent an issue that is likely to impact clients’ economic interest in a company, Member Firms generally will not subject their clients to the loss of liquidity that could be imposed by these requirements. Additionally, the costs of voting in certain non-U.S. markets may be substantially higher than in the U.S. In these markets, the Member Firms will weigh the associative costs against the benefit of voting, and may refrain from voting certain non-U.S. securities in instances where the items presented are not likely to have a material impact on shareholder value.
The foregoing information is only a portion of a broader description of the BNY Mellon Proxy Voting and Governance Committee and its philosophy, voting guidelines, process, and approach to conflicts of interest. Please refer to the Introduction section and review the related information on prior and subsequent pages for the complete overview, including the meanings of the capitalized terms used herein.