Proxy voting is the primary forum where management seeks affirmation of what it’s doing, and where shareholders can weigh in on important issues. Most shareholders are unable to attend the annual meetings of the companies in which they own stock. They therefore participate in absentia, by way of a proxy vote.
Proxy ballots typically contain proposals from company management on issues of corporate governance, including the election of the board of directors, executive compensation, capital structure and auditors. They may also include shareholder proposals.
We have always been committed to transparency in our proxy voting. Because we believe our Fund shareholders have an absolute right to know how we are casting proxy votes on their behalf, we have regularly published our comprehensive voting policies since 1992. In 1999, we became the first mutual fund manager in America to publicly disclose its actual proxy votes. We then petitioned the Securities and Exchange Commission for the rule that now requires all mutual funds to publicly disclose their voting policies and actual votes.