VALLEY FORGE, PA (August 30, 2019)—Vanguard today released its global 2019 Investment Stewardship Annual Report, which details company engagements and voting records of its mutual funds for the 12 months ended June 30, 2019.
In the report, Vanguard calls for greater diversity among boards of directors at public companies. Vanguard believes that diverse boards make better decisions, which can lead to better results over the long term. Vanguard is asking boards of directors to publish their views on board diversity, disclose their board diversity measures, broaden their search for director candidates, and report progress against those outcomes. The report also addresses sustainability’s role in long-term investing and the importance of standardized risk disclosure frameworks.
“When a Vanguard index fund invests in a company, we have every expectation that we will be invested in that company forever,” said Glenn Booraem, Vanguard’s investment stewardship officer. “Vanguard has a responsibility to our funds’ shareholders to ensure companies take a holistic and long-term view of shareholder value and have the right people and governance frameworks in place to deliver enduring performance.”
2019 Voting and Engagement
Over the last year, Vanguard’s investment stewardship team voted on nearly 170,000 matters at 13,225 companies. The team also held discussions, known as engagements, with the boards and management teams of almost 900 companies representing 59% of Vanguard funds’ equity assets under management. While all portfolio companies have the opportunity to engage with Vanguard, similar to previous years, the team primarily held engagements with companies that represent Vanguard funds’ largest holdings, as well as corporations facing governance issues. A full list of all of the companies Vanguard engaged with during the 2018-2019 proxy year is available on page 36 of the report.
Engagement is an essential mechanism that enables Vanguard to better understand a company’s long-term strategy, governance structure, and material risks to its business model. The investment stewardship team takes a board-centric approach to these discussions and focuses on four main areas: board composition, executive compensation, governance structures, and the board’s oversight of strategy and risk. Vanguard firmly believes that these four governance principles are the foundation on which lasting value is built.
Vanguard remains dedicated to educating all investors about the importance of corporate governance and the impact of Vanguard’s efforts. In addition to the annual report, Vanguard recently published a commentary, “What we do. How we do it. Why it matters,” which details Vanguard’s principles-based approach to corporate governance, as well as a separate commentary outlining Vanguard’s views on boardroom diversity. All materials are available on Vanguard’s Investment Stewardship webpage.
Vanguard is one of the world’s largest investment management companies. As of July 31, 2019, Vanguard managed $5.7 trillion in global assets. The firm, headquartered in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, offers 418 funds to its more than 20 million investors worldwide. For more information, visit vanguard.com.
All figures are as of June 30, 2019, unless otherwise noted.
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