Vanguard to create European investment stewardship team
Vanguard will create a new investment stewardship team based in London in a drive to improve corporate governance standards across Europe.
Adrienne Monley has been appointed head of investment stewardship for Europe to lead a team that is set to grow to five members before the end of 2018. Monley is at present a strategist in the US stewardship team, which until now has managed all of Vanguard’s proxy voting and engagement activities worldwide.
‘Our investors depend on Vanguard to be a responsible steward of their assets, and we promote principles of corporate governance that we believe will enhance the long-term value of their investments,’ a spokesperson for Vanguard tells IR Magazine. ‘The new European investment stewardship team will serve as a voice for our clients with European portfolio companies, undertake corporate governance research and deepen our relationships with industry groups.’
Issuer engagement with Vanguard has increased by roughly 20 percent year-on-year since 2012, with the asset management firm taking around 1,000 meetings with companies in 2017. Vanguard chair William McNabb last year described this increase as ‘remarkable’, but called for directors to play a more active role in talking to shareholders.
‘We have the expectation that independent directors will engage with their owners, their investors,’ McNabb said in November. ‘There are still very prominent companies where that’s not happening and where we hear from CEOs that this will not happen. I’m completely baffled by this. I thought boards were standing in mostly for shareholders.’
There is an opportunity for governance and IR teams to help facilitate conversations between boards and key shareholders, McNabb added. He suggested that boards may consider developing small sub-committees responsible for investor outreach.