Governance best practices increasingly call for boards to engage with their investors on critical issues; yet much ambiguity still surrounds the shareholder engagement process. Who should we engage? How should we engage? What does it mean if an investor declines a meeting?
In this episode, Bob McCormick, Partner at CamberView Partners and Former Chief Policy Officer with proxy advisor Glass Lewis, joins host TK Kerstetter to demystify the institutional investor voting process. Boards must recognize that there are different types of investors, explains McCormick, and that each approach to engagement must be tailored.
“For the big index funds, you really need to make sure that you educate them on the fundamentals of the company…,” said McCormick. “Particularly if it’s a small- to mid-size company, they may not be familiar with that exact business or the change in strategy or cyclicality of that industry.”
McCormick details the various strategies boards should implement when approaching certain types of investors. He also shares best practices for boards that are preparing for shareholder engagement meetings—or merely trying to get a meeting scheduled in the first place.
All major investment firms are inundated with requests from companies. We’re all saying Engage! Engage!, but then the investors say ‘Geez, we have 14,000 companies and we can’t engage with every single one.’ So they tend to focus on those where they may have concerns or have voted against a certain issue. So if you’re a company that doesn’t have concerns and the investor declines the meeting, that could be a good sign.
Bob McCormick, Partner, CamberView Partners