AXA IM Raises Bar in Updated Voting Policy

AXA Investment Managers (IM) has made three updates to its corporate governance and voting policy, in line with reinforced ESG expectations for investee firms. With climate change remaining a top concern, the French asset manager said it would continue to use its voting power to support the transition to a greener and more sustainable global economy. As such, it will apply three changes to its voting policy. First, AXA IM said it may cast dissenting votes against relevant resolutions if high-emitting companies fail to appropriately report on their climate lobbying activities. “This highlights the importance of climate lobbying issues as the political backlash on climate-regulated regulation intensifies, in contrast with the urgent need for effective policy intervention to enable a just and orderly transition,” AXA IM said. Secondly, the firm stated that it would advocate for fairer compensation structures, with plans for the cost-of living crisis and the wider workforce to be further considered when voting on executive pay proposals – particularly when a company board proposes a pay increase for its lead executives. Thirdly, AXA IM will seek to oppose bylaw amendments introducing virtual-only AGM formats to ensure that all shareholders are able to effectively participate and engage with boards of directors. It will also start disclosing the rationale for all votes against ESG-related shareholder proposals to increase transparency. “As part of our responsible investor commitments, we remain committed to regularly evolving our practices and policies over time, and we acknowledge the need for real-economy policies to further support the transition to a net-zero world,” said Clemence Humeau, Head of Sustainability Coordination and Governance at AXA IM.

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