OP funds will start participating in foreign annual general meetings in accordance with their responsible investment strategy. This is a major effort, as in future OP funds will participate in thousands of AGMs every year.
OP funds will also attend the AGMs of global companies in accordance with their strategy of responsible investment. Participation in foreign AGMs takes the form of voting by proxy. This means that you get someone to vote on your behalf, according to your instructions. This is a typical method for major investors who own shares in thousands of companies.
“To include foreign AGMs in the operation of OP funds is an important step in the implementation of responsible investing. By voting by proxy we try to influence decisions taken by companies in which OP funds are shareholders. Our objective is to become international forerunners in terms of responsible investment,” says Mika Leskinen, Head of ESG in OP’s Wealth Management segment.
Participation in AGMs will be raised to a high level gradually: during the next 12 months, OP funds will take part in about 700 AGMs. This level is raised steadily, and within three years, OP funds will take part in thousands of AGMs.
Practices with annual general meetings vary considerably from country to country, meaning that participation requires knowledge of local practices. Whenever AGMs are held outside Finland, OP uses the services of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS).
“Institutional investors are required to fulfil their active ownership responsibilities more than ever before. ISS is delighted to support the OP Funds in exercising their cross-border stewardship obligations and integrating sustainability as well as governance factors into the global voting process” says Lorraine Kelly, Managing Director, Head of ISS´ Proxy Business.
In Finnish AGMs, OP funds will continue with their former practice: a fund representative will take part in the AGM and take an active stand in the matters at hand to carry out the ownership policy of OP Fund Management Company.
OP Fund Management Company will renew in early autumn its ownership policy concerning Finnish and foreign companies. The new policy will take better into account responsibility viewpoints, such as preparation for climate change and sustainability.
For more info on OP's CSR initiatives, visit the website.
Further information and requests for interviews:
Mika Leskinen, Head of ESG in OP’s Wealth Management segment. Any requests for interviews via OP Communications, tel. +358 (0)50 523 9904 (weekdays between 7 am and 7.30 pm)