Meritas Mutual Funds Delivering Shareholder ‘Say On Pay’ in Canada - Ten Companies Brought on Board so far in 2010
KITCHENER, ON - Meritas Mutual Funds continues to lead the way toward a greater say on pay for shareholders, making the votes a reality at a growing number of Canada’s public companies.
to requests from Meritas Mutual Funds, Enbridge Inc., EnCana Corporation,
Suncor Energy, TransAlta Corporation, Biovail Corporation, Canadian Pacific
Railway Limited, Agrium Inc, Russel Metals Inc., Barrick Gold Corporation and
Major Drilling Group International Inc. have agreed to hold pay votes beginning
in 2010 or 2011. Gary Hawton, Chief Executive Officer of Meritas
commented, “I applaud these companies for recognizing that a “say on pay” vote
is quickly becoming recognized as a sign of good corporate governance.”
Just two of the
companies where Meritas submitted “say on pay” shareholders proposals failed to
voluntarily adopt the measure. Shareholders are set for votes at Gennum
Corporation on April 7 and Methanex Corporation on April 29.
Meritas started the
pay vote conversation in 2007, working with the Shareholder Association for
Research and Education (SHARE) to ask Canada’s five largest banks if they
would voluntarily provide their shareholders with an annual advisory vote on
executive compensation. When the banks indicated that they would not adopt say
on pay, Meritas filed proposals asking bank shareholders to weigh in on the
There was strong
support for Meritas’ proposals. In 2008, 40% of bank shares voted were voted in
favour. In 2009, a majority of shareholders backed each proposal. In response,
each bank committed to hold a pay vote in 2010.
its efforts this year, submitting say on pay proposals at twelve companies.
Meritas plans to
further expand its say on pay dialogue with corporate Canada in 2011.
“While we have had some success the past two years in making “say on pay”
a reality in Canada, there are still hundreds of companies that have not
adopted this practice,” said Hawton. “If need be, we will go through the
list of companies we own, one by one, to make this vote a reality but I would
hope that there are many board of directors who will step up to the plate and
act on providing this vote without a need for shareholder pressure.”
About Meritas Mutual Funds: Meritas is devoted solely to creating and marketing
socially responsible investments. It does so for individuals under the brand
name Meritas Mutual Funds and also has an institutional division for
corporations, endowments, foundations, pension plans and other large investors.
Committed to all three aspects of socially responsible investing, Meritas uses
positive and negative screening guidelines, shareholder activism and community
development investments to help investors align their portfolio with their
social, ethical, governance and environmental concerns.
About SHARE: SHARE is a national social
enterprise dedicated to improving institutional investment practices that
protect the long-term interests of pension plan members, beneficiaries and
society in general.
Hawton, CEO, Meritas Mutual Funds Phone: 519.624.6767, email: firstname.lastname@example.org