AIMCo’s approach to Responsible Investment (RI) is guided by our core values, our fiduciary duty to Clients and our long-term investment horizon. AIMCo integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment analysis and decision-making to better capture risk adjusted returns for our Clients.
AIMCo’s RI governance structure cascades across the entire organization, from AIMCo’s board which reviews and approves AIMCo’s RI Policy to all asset classes. The RI Committee is chaired by the CEO and features a cross-section of senior executives representing all investment functions. The RI committee oversees RI strategy and approves AIMCo’s proxy voting guidelines, exclusions guidelines and engagement guidelines on an as needed basis to adapt and appropriately respond to current market trends.
AIMCo enhances shareholder value on behalf of our Clients by exercising our proxy voting rights at meetings of publicly traded companies around the globe. Voting decisions are based on AIMCo’s bespoke proxy voting guidelines, and take unique circumstances and markets into account. AIMCo’s RI team considers multiple research inputs and confers with portfolio managers for companies on our strategic watch list before instructing the votes, demonstrating robust voting processes. With respect to other asset classes, AIMCo’s Real Estate and our Infrastructure and Timber teams updated their sustainability guidelines in 2014.
AIMCo voted on 98% of 24,009 ballot proposals in 2014. We supported 36% of shareholder proposals, and voted against 16% of management proposals. AIMCo has experienced a steady increase in the number of shareholder proposals over the last 3 years. A trend of duplicative proposals factored into a net decrease in support for shareholder proposals from 2013 to 2014, from 43% support in 2013 to 36% support in 2014.
We prefer to exercise ‘voice over exit,’ to engage with companies regarding ESG issues where possible, rather than to divest our holdings. Our ESG focus areas direct company engagement initiatives including identifying how extractives companies mitigate environmental impacts, supporting worker health and safety across the supply chain and addressing poor corporate governance. We engage with selected companies to identify best and normative ESG practices and enquire about perceived gaps.
AIMCo is committed to disclosure of our RI policies, guiding documents and activities. These are made available on-line through our website, in the AIMCo annual report, in our annual RI report, and in our UNPRI Transparency Report. AIMCo’s voting record is disclosed on our website shortly after the vote has passed.
AIMCo is an engaged member of the global RI community and is a signatory to the United Nations backed Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI.) AIMCo enjoys memberships at the Responsible Investment Association (Canada), and sits on the corporate governance committee of Pension Investment Association of Canada (PIAC), the shareholder responsibility committee of International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) and the public policy committee of Canadian Coalition of Good Governance (CCGG.) AIMCo collaborates with peers in various advocacy initiatives and on some engagements.
AIMCo participates in various public policy dialogues in order to advance best ESG practices and to promote client interests. AIMCo’s contributions to advocacy initiatives are posted on our website. AIMCo supports the principle of director independence and board refreshment to encourage board diversity, and prefers flexible target ranges to hard quotas to demonstrate evidence of a rate of increase of women on the board across a reasonable length of time.