Responding to criticisms by one labor group that because it votes its proxies so often in line with corporate management it has become an excessive “pay enabler,” AIM Investments’ board of directors set up a committee last year to revamp its proxy guidelines. And early results on this year’s corporate election season appear to indicate the changes have made a real difference, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Of the roughly 1,000 corporate elections in which it voted this year, AIM said it voted against management recommendations at least once 45% of the time. Overall, AIM said, it voted against all of management’s proposals 15% of the time.
In 2006, fund companies sided with management 92% of the time and with shareholders only 48% of the time, according to the Corporate Library.
“There was a sense that the process was routine as opposed to being vigilant,” admitted Bruce Crockett, chairman of the AIM Funds board. There was also concern that shareholders were becoming more vigilant about corporate governance, so something had to be done,” said Donna Anderson, chairwoman of the AIM Funds proxy-voting committee. “The policies needed to be completely reworked from top to bottom,” she said.
Of particular concern were asking shareholders to vote on severance packages and executive pay. The board also strengthened AIM opposition to staggered boards as opposed to annual elections, as well as to poison pill anti-takeover measures and support of directors who may not have handled audits or financial reporting properly.
The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.