Proxy group wants feedback on best-practice principles

A group of proxy-voting advisory firms, called Best Practice Principles Group, Tuesday introduced a web-based mechanism for collecting feedback on the implementation of best-practice principles for shareholding voting research, designed to address the integrity of the industry.

The principles — covering conflicts of interest management, quality of reporting, and communications with corporations, shareholders and others — were released last year in response to the 2013 European Securities and Markets Authorities concerns about proxy-voting advisory firms.

An ESMA report identified concerns about the independence of the firms and accuracy and reliability of their advice “which would benefit from improved clarity and understanding amongst stakeholders.” ESMA plans to review the development and impact of the principles sometime this year.

To further engagement, the BPP Group “encourages all stakeholders to provide meaningful feedback and substantiated comments through its website as a way to consider updates and improvements to the principles on factual, evidence basis,” the group said in a statement.

The group plans to undertake a review of the principles taking into account the feedback as well as ESMA’s review of the principles and other market developments, the statement said.

Institutional Shareholder Services, Glass Lewis, IVOX, Manifest Information Services, PIRC and Proxinvest make up the group.