The Pension Fund sees the exercising of its ownership and voting rights and dialogue with companies as important elements of its sustainability strategy.
Exercise of voting rights
The Pension Fund fulfills its obligations as a shareholder and influences corporate management by exercising the voting rights from its equity investments. The ESG Committee of the Pension Fund defines the criteria and principles applicable to how voting rights are exercised to ensure that this is done uniformly across all companies in line with its sustainability strategy. The Pension Fund exercises its voting rights in all Swiss firms listed either in Switzerland or abroad, and therefore complies with the legal requirements (Ordinance against Excessive Compensation with Respect to Listed Stock Corporations (OAEC)). Indeed, by exercising its voting rights for selected foreign companies within Europe, the Pension Fund goes beyond what is legally required. As part of its transparent reporting framework, the Pension Fund publishes details of its voting behavior on an ongoing basis after the annual general meeting of each company (LINK to ISS reporting exercise of voting rights in English). The ESG Committee reviews the established voting policy at least once a year and assesses whether to expand voting right activities to additional companies and/or markets on an ongoing basis.
The Pension Fund believes that active dialogue with companies is an important part of a sustainable investment strategy. The Pension Fund engages in active dialogue to address topics that are not dealt with (to a sufficient extent) during an annual general meeting and pursues these topics on a long-term basis outside of the annual general meeting. Rather than excluding companies, engagement enables solutions to be sought in collaboration with the company as well as ensuring best practice.
The Pension Fund pursues a structured, long-term engagement strategy with the companies it invests in. The Pension Fund works with EOS at Federated Hermes as an external engagement specialist to enhance the effectiveness and influence of its participation. On behalf of and in line with the objectives of the Pension Fund and other investors, the specialist maintains a structured dialogue with companies on environmental, social, and governance topics. Because it is acting on behalf of several investors, the engagement specialist can exert greater influence on the company, which makes the engagement more effective. The Pension Fund's ESG Committee manages the collaboration with EOS at Federate Hermes and is actively involved in formulating the strategy. In the adjacent link you will find futher information on EOS at Federated Hermes and the current engagement plan.