PLSA publishes vote reporting templates ahead of legal changes

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has published vote reporting templates to help pension schemes, investment managers and platform providers comply with upcoming legal changes.

From October, pension trustees will be required to demonstrate how they are acting as effective stewards of their assets, including disclosing how they are using their voting rights to support or sanction corporate behaviour among their investee companies.

The templates ask for the disclosure of details such as descriptions of the voting process, the number of meetings eligible to vote at, total numbers of votes cast, and the numbers of votes cast for, against and abstained.

The new regulations require trustees to disclose their own voting behaviour, as well as the votes of investment managers acting on their behalf.

As such, the PLSA has published two sets of guidance along with the templates, one for use by pension schemes and another for use by underlying investment managers.

Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, commented: “I welcome this first step on the issue of voting. I support the PLSA’s initiative in producing a practical tool to help pension schemes and their asset managers meet their legal obligations on voting.

“Voting by institutional investors is an important way to influence companies’ responses to the great challenges of our time, not least climate change and the pandemic. I therefore encourage and support industry increasing its efficiency and accountability in this area, and look forward to seeing real progress on this issue.”

The PLSA said providing more consistent vote reporting at a mandate and fund level would mean trustees can receive voting information in the same format for every fund or manager, while they will also have information on voting which is more “decision-useful” than before.

PLSA chairman, Richard Butcher, added: “Stewardship is more important than ever for delivering good retirement outcomes for scheme members. Active ownership has a positive impact on corporate performance and the value of scheme members’ savings. Clear, consistent and relevant disclosure on voting behaviour is a vital part of delivering value.”

PLSA working group chair and policy board member, Laura Myers, said: “Along with the recently published Implementation Statement Guidance, the Vote Reporting Guidance will not only help pension schemes demonstrate to their members how they are effective stewards of their assets it will also result in richer information that improves investment decisions.”

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