Glass Lewis has responded to a group of 21 republican state attorneys general who had questioned its ESG policies with the proxy adviser stating it takes its related legal obligations “seriously” and has “fully” honored them. The republican alliance had raised questions over a possible breach of its legal obligations to the state’s investment vehicles.
In the January 31 response, Glass Lewis vehemently defended its position advising that the state officials’ characterization of its benchmark policy as its “pledge,” “commitment,” or “advocacy” for a particular position, “fundamentally misunderstands our [Glass Lewis’] voting policies and how they are used.”
Glass Lewis explained that its benchmark policy, is one of many services it provides to its clients, and generally reflects the predominant views of its institutional investor clients. The proxy adviser added that in many cases clients, including many public pension funds in the U.S., choose to develop their own custom voting policy, which ensures their proxy votes are “executed according to their unique needs and views.”
In highlighting the role of a proxy adviser, Glass Lewis moved to stress that it does not decide how its clients vote. “Once an investor client has selected a policy that closely aligns with its views, Glass Lewis applies the selected policy to the facts presented in each company’s proxy statement and provides tailored vote recommendations on each proposal based on such policy.”
“Glass Lewis is equally committed to serving all our clients, whatever their views and however they decide to vote,” the response concluded.