The proxy voting guidelines cover two major areas in how the fund company will vote: in connection with the election of directors and on proposals made by company boards and shareholders, according to a news release.
Overall, the independence standards required by Putnam are consistent in most cases, and more stringent in other cases, with the standards which were proposed last year by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and which are still under review. Unlike the NYSE proposals, however, the Putnam guidelines are effective for the 2003 proxy season.
“The thrust of Putnam’s proxy guidelines is to strengthen the accountability of corporate boards of directors to shareholders,” John Hill, chairman of the Board of the Putnam Trustees, said in a statement “The principles inherent in the guidelines emphasize the need for strong boards that are effectively independent of company management and that are held strictly accountable for the long-term performance and conduct of their companies. We will withhold our support for boards which do not adopt our standards, either in fact or in spirit.”
These guidelines, which reflect the results of the Board’s most recent annual review of its proxy guidelines, are available on the Putnam website ( www.putnaminvestments.com ) in the Individual Investor section.