PLSA publishes vote reporting templates for UK pension schemes

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has published vote reporting templates to help schemes enact their shareholder voting rights.

The PLSA has published two different sets of guidance – one for pension schemes and the other for their underlying investment managers – to promote consistent and uniform reporting of this information.

From October, pension fund trustees must demonstrate how they are acting as effective stewards of their assets. Trustees will be required to disclose their own voting behaviour and the votes of investment managers acting on their behalf.

Defined benefit (DB) and defined contribution (DC) schemes must also publicly disclose their investment activity over the previous year in an implementation statement.

The PLSA is encouraging trustees to be flexible in their requirements and engage with their managers regarding what is possible.

More consistent vote reporting at a mandate and fund level will mean that trustees will receive the information in the same format for every fund or manager, and have more information on voting which is useful for when making decisions.

The PLSA said trustees will be able to better compare the service and approach provided by different managers, while asset managers will be able to use these disclosures to demonstrate their voting approach to prospective clients.

Richard Butcher, chairman of the PLSA, said: “Stewardship is more important than ever for delivering good retirement outcomes for scheme members. Active ownership has a positive impact on corporate performance and the value of scheme members’ savings. Clear, consistent and relevant disclosure on voting behaviour is a vital part of delivering value.”

The templates are designed to be used as companions to the recently published PLSA Implementation Statement Guidance from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Minerva supported the PLSA in creating the guide and voting template, commenting on areas where trustees might need clear guidance in understanding the voting process and clarifying the nature and range of proxy voting and engagement information that trustees need from their asset managers to complete their implementation statements.

Minerva is also helping pension schemes fulfil their new regulatory requirements by collecting and analysing voting and engagement information, to produce the necessary details and insights.

The guidance requires trustees to annually disclose how closely their scheme’s activity adhered to its ESG aims that were indicated in its Statement of Investment Principles (SIP).

The vote reporting guidance and templates can be downloaded from the PLSA website.

Last Updated: 25 September 2020
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