State Street Global Advisors, or SSGA, updated and released earlier this week its Global Proxy Voting and Engagement Principles and Proxy Voting and Engagement Guidelines – North America (US & Canada). SSGA has created a new set of global policies dedicated to what companies can expect when engaging with SSGA on environmental and social matters and how SSGA intends to approach voting on sustainability-related proposals.
In addition, SSGA recently published its latest general issuer engagement protocol (as distinguished from guidelines dedicated to a specific engagement topic) informing its investee companies what to expect when engaging with the asset manager. These guidelines include important information such as where to direct an email requesting an engagement and what information to include. The framework also reveals SSGA’s approach to identifying the companies the firm will target for engagement and interacting with activist investors as well as shareholder proposal proponents.
Lastly, SSGA is extending the board diversity voting policy, previously announced last fall in the US, to additional regions outside of the US. The enhanced policy, which we discussed back in October 2018, provides that SSGA will hold boards with no gender diversity more accountable. Specifically, starting in 2020, SSGA will vote against the entire slate of board members on the nominating committee if a company does not have at least one woman on its board, and has not engaged in successful dialogue with SSGA for three consecutive years.