BMO Global Asset Management’s voting, engagement and public policy work is conducted independently of the wider BMO Financial Group. Positions taken by BMO Global Asset Management may not be representative of the views of the BMO Financial Group as a whole or of the other lines of business within it.
All of our investment plans involve a level of risk and the value of your investments can go down as well as up. The level of risk will depend upon the underlying investments that you choose to hold in the plans. You need to be comfortable that you may not get back the original amount invested.
Investor engagement: the early years
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“These Principles grew out of the understanding that while finance fuels the global economy, investment decision-making does not sufficiently reflect environmental, social and corporate governance considerations – or put another way, the tenets of sustainable development.”
2007-8 Global Financial Crisis
In the aftermath of the 2007-8 Global Financial Crisis, fingers were pointed at banks and regulators, but also at shareholders – why did investors not do more to challenge weak governance structures and excessive risk-taking? The crisis promoted many investors revisit their approach to stewardship, which helped further build momentum around investor engagement. Emboldened, they sought to play a key role afterwards by holding financial institutions to account and pressing for long-lasting improvements in governance and culture.
During 2007-8, we conducted in-depth engagement with over 20 global financial institutions to promote changes in culture and management behaviour. This included RBS, Barclays and HSBC. Meanwhile, the 2008 proxy season saw us actively exercise our voting rights on all bank holdings. We engaged with many of the UK, European and US banks most deeply involved in the crisis before the vote to explain our expectations and opposed poor governance practices where appropriate. We also supported all resolutions calling for a “say on pay” at the large US banks.
Engaging in the aftermath of a crisis
Discover the history of investor engagement