Voting is one of the cornerstones of our stewardship approach. The exercise of our right to vote is one of the most effective tools we have for holding boards to account and encouraging good governance.

We vote globally on all of our listed investments. Our voting is guided by our UK Voting and Engagement Policy – which is broadly aligned with the UK Corporate Governance Code and Global Stewardship Principles.

The UK Voting Policy was updated in 2017, reflecting regulatory changes and developments in best practice. In particular, the fund strengthened the escalation approach for voting on remuneration matters and environmental and social disclosures as follows:

  • Remuneration

From 2017, when voting against the remuneration report for a second consecutive year, USS will also vote against the chair of the remuneration committee and consider a vote against other members of the committee. We consider the remuneration committee should be held accountable and take ownership of compensation related decision-making.

We will also take a more unequivocal stance on our vote decisions and the signals sent to remuneration committees by reducing our use of abstentions and moving toward votes cast in favour or against.

  • Environmental and Social Considerations

USS expects companies to demonstrate in their reporting how they manage the material environmental and social risks (such as climate change and health and safety) that arise out of their operations. USS may vote against or abstain on the resolution to adopt report and accounts or other resolutions if we deem such reporting to be insufficient.

We form an independent decision on voting on a case by case basis. We take into account proxy research, the outcomes from engagement meetings, discussions with peers and our portfolio managers’ perspectives. When voting on companies outside the UK, we seek to take account of local practice by engaging local research providers, participating in regional corporate governance forums and working with other institutional investors investing in that market.

Whenever we vote against a resolution, we write to the company to explain our concerns. We see this as an important way of providing feedback as part of our ongoing dialogue with our investee companies.

In accordance with best practice, we publish a list of global equity holdings and voting records.

Last updated: about 10 months ago