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The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) has set out its expectations and provides guidance for improving the tabulation of proxy votes in a staff notice published on Thursday.

The voluntary protocols set out the regulators’ expectations on the roles and responsibilities of the various firms that handle meeting vote reconciliation. Furthermore, they provide guidance on the processes that they should implement to support accurate, reliable and accountable meeting vote reconciliation.

The protocols cover numerous aspects of that process, including generating and sending vote entitlement information; setting up vote entitlement accounts; sending vote information and tabulating and recording proxy votes; and, informing shareholders of any rejected or pro-rated votes.

The CSA says it will monitor the implementation of its guidance over the next two proxy seasons and will consider whether any further measures are needed. In addition, the regulators plan to continue encouraging industry-led initiatives for paperless vote reconciliation and end-to-end vote confirmation.

Atechnical committee made up of representatives from firms involved in the proxy voting process — including the Canadian Depository for Securities Ltd., Broadridge Investor Communications Corp., intermediaries and transfer agents — will also provide the CSA;s staff with input on these issues.

“These protocols lay the foundation for key entities to work collectively to improve meeting vote reconciliation,” says Louis Morisset, chairman of the CSA and president and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), in a statement. “This is a significant milestone in our work to increase the accuracy, accountability and reliability of the proxy voting infrastructure.”

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