Vanguard Publishes 2020 Annual Investment Stewardship Report

Firm also announces new Global Head of Investment Stewardship

VALLEY FORGE, PA (September 15, 2020)—Vanguard today unveiled its 2020 Investment Stewardship Annual Report, which provides an in-depth view into company engagements, including case studies, the rationale for a number of votes, and summaries of its mutual funds’ voting activities from the year ended June 30, 2020. 

The report is centered on Vanguard’s four principles of good governance: A well-composed board, effective oversight of strategy and risk, performance-linked executive compensation, and shareholder rights. It describes how recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty, the escalating climate crisis, and an historic social justice movement have brought environmental, social, and governance risks into sharp focus. 

“During this period of global uncertainty, the importance of remaining focused on the long-term has never been clearer, and good governance has never been more important,” said Anne Robinson, managing director and general counsel for Vanguard. “Vanguard’s Investment Stewardship team will continue to work with companies and hold them accountable to promote and protect long-term value for our investors.”

For the year ended June 30, 2020, Vanguard’s Investment Stewardship team engaged with nearly 800 companies across 27 countries and voted on more than 168,000 proposals on behalf of Vanguard funds. Key areas of focus during engagements included board composition and executive compensation, which accounted for 70% and 47% of engagements, respectively. The team also engaged with 258 companies in carbon-intensive industries, or 33% of total engagements. Specific to oversight of strategy and risk, Vanguard increased engagements with portfolio companies on matters related to climate change and diversity. Vanguard will continue to closely observe these issues in the future. 

Evolution of Vanguard’s Stewardship function

In addition to unveiling the annual report, Vanguard also announced today the appointment of John Galloway as Vanguard’s new Global Head of Investment Stewardship. Mr. Galloway is responsible for leading the evolution of Vanguard’s stewardship practice, which includes publicly advocating for high standards of corporate governance around the world, engaging with company boards and leaders on governance practices, and voting proxy ballots to represent the long-term interests of Vanguard’s diverse investor base. He succeeds Glenn Booraem, who led Vanguard’s Stewardship team for the past two decades. Mr. Booraem will stay on Vanguard’s Investment Stewardship leadership team as a senior advisor as he takes on additional responsibilities helping the firm understand changing client perspectives and navigate the evolving regulatory and disclosure environment.                                                                                               

“Vanguard’s Investment Stewardship team represents the interests of our investors and tirelessly advocates for better governance and stewardship practices,” said Ms. Robinson. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Glenn for his efforts in building the foundation of our Stewardship program. I’m excited for the opportunities ahead for the team, as they represent Vanguard investors amid the shifting landscape of governance practices and expectations.”

Established in 2001, Vanguard’s Investment Stewardship team has grown into one of the world’s largest investment stewardship teams, comprising 35 governance professionals with a diverse mix of skills and experience. Under the leadership of Mr. Galloway, Vanguard’s Investment Stewardship team will continue to build the breadth and depth of its expertise around the world, including enhancing its global research and engagement strategies, engage in productive dialogue with portfolio companies on key issues, and provide greater clarity to investors and interested stakeholders regarding Vanguard’s stewardship activities. The global Investment Stewardship leadership team includes: Adrienne Monley, head of the Americas; Lisa Harlow, head of Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific; and Bill Roberts, head of Policy and Research.

“As corporate governance remains an area of change and importance, Vanguard’s Investment Stewardship team will drive improvement across our portfolio,” said John Galloway, principal and global head of Vanguard’s Investment Stewardship team. “Over the coming months, we will make clear our expectations for board and workforce diversity, climate change risk, and will engage with companies to better understand how COVID-19 has shaped their views of systemic risk.”

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About Vanguard

Vanguard is one of the world’s largest investment management companies. As of July 31, 2020, Vanguard managed $6.3 trillion in global assets. The firm, headquartered in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, offers more than 426 funds to its more than 30 million investors worldwide. For more information, visit vanguard.com.