Canadian Group Calls for Manager Activism

December 3, 2002 ( - Canadian investment managers are lagging behind in their efforts to pressure companies for reform on corporate governance issues such as board independence and paying company executives too handsomely, according to a new survey.

The survey, by the Shareholder Association of Research and Education (SHARE), found that many Canadian investment managers still voted for excessive increases in executive compensation, to appoint a board member with a record of excessive absenteeism, and against a proposal for independent boards of directors of controlled companies.

SHARE said these votes came despite the dramatically heightened attention to those issues in the post-Enron US.

“SHARE would like to see investors and managers vote their proxies in a way that promotes stronger corporate governance and performance. Investors have an important role to play in holding corporations accountable, curbing corporate excess, and protecting shareholder value,” SHARE Director of Law and Policy Gil Yaron said in a statement.

In its 2002 Key Proxy Vote Survey. SHARE polled 98 Canadian investment managers and proxy voting services on how they voted on 27 management and shareholder proposals filed during the 2002 proxy season. The proposals include:

  • board and management independence
  • corporate disclosure
  • executive compensation
  • labor rights
  • shareholder rights.