Shareholders are entitled to vote on key issues at the company's Annual General Meeting (AGM). Issues can include both management proposals and shareholder resolutions, which appear in the company's management proxy circular.
The management proxy circular is mailed to every shareholder before the AGM. Most shareholders do not attend the AGM or vote their shares directly; they usually instruct another individual or institution (a "proxy") to vote on their behalf - hence the term "proxy voting."
We devote a great deal of effort to ensuring that the proxies owned by NEI investors are voted in accordance with our detailed Proxy Voting Guidelines. Ethical Funds was the first mutual fund family in Canada to disclose its Proxy Voting Guidelines (last updated February 2020) and activities - long before this was made compulsory. NEI's mutual fund Proxy Voting Activity Reports detail how proxies were voted for each company in our portfolios - and why.
Two ESG Analysts at NEI oversee all proxy voting activity, utilizing the services of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), a proxy voting service provider.
Funds that use a forward strategy to track the investment returns of another fund invest in Canadian equities; each position is held for a short period of time and holdings are scheduled so that no known voting events occur during the period of ownership.
A number of our funds do not buy assets which confer voting rights. If a fund is not listed, other than a fund using a forward strategy, it is such a fund.