EX-99.13D 5 tm2034384d1_ex99-13d.htm EXHIBIT 99.13D

Exhibit 99.13d



ASI U.S. Registered Advisers (the “ASI Advisers”)

Proxy Voting Guidelines


Effective as of January 1, 2020

Rule 206(4)-6 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the “Advisers Act”) requires the ASI Advisers to vote proxies in a manner consistent with clients’ best interest and must not place its interests above those of its clients when doing so. It requires the ASI Advisers to: (i) adopt and implement written policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to ensure that the ASI Advisers vote proxies in the best interest of the clients, and (ii) to disclose to the clients how they may obtain information on how the ASI Advisers voted proxies. In addition, Rule 204-2 requires the ASI Advisers to keep records of proxy voting and client requests for information.


As registered investment advisers, the ASI Advisers have an obligation to vote proxies with respect to securities held in its client portfolios in the best interests of the clients for which it has proxy voting authority.


The ASI Advisers are committed to exercising responsible ownership with a conviction that companies adopting best practices in corporate governance will be more successful in their core activities and deliver enhanced returns to shareholders.


The ASI Advisers have adopted a proxy voting policy. The proxy voting policy is designed and implemented in a way that is reasonably expected to ensure that proxies are voted in the best interests of clients.


Voting decisions are made by the ASI Advisers ’ investment teams, and are based on their knowledge of the company and discussions with management – ASI Advisers ’ investment managers consider explanations from companies about their compliance with relevant corporate governance codes and may refer to independent research from voting advisory services in reaching a voting decision. However, voting decisions for exchange traded funds are made strictly in accordance with ISS’s proxy voting guidelines which are reviewed and approved on an annual basis.


Where contentious issues arise in relation to motions put before a shareholders’ meeting, ASI Advisers will usually contact the management of the company to exchange views and give management the opportunity to articulate its position. The long term nature of the relationships that we develop with investee company boards should enable us to deal with any concerns that we may have over strategy, the management of risk or governance practices directly with the chairman or senior independent director. In circumstances where this approach is unsuccessful, ASI Advisers are prepared to escalate their intervention by expressing their concerns through the company’s advisers, through interaction with other shareholders or attending and speaking at General Meetings.


In managing third party money on behalf of clients, there are a limited number of situations where potential conflicts of interest could arise in the context of proxy voting. One case is where funds are invested in companies that are either clients or related parties of clients. Another case is where one fund managed by ASI invests in other funds managed by ASI.


For cases involving potential conflicts of interest, ASI Advisers have implemented procedures to ensure the appropriate handling of proxy voting decisions. The guiding principle of ASI Advisers’ conflicts of interest policy is simple – to exercise our right to vote in the best interests of the clients on whose behalf we are managing funds.


We employ ISS as a service provider to deliver our voting decisions efficiently to companies. We require ISS to provide recommendations based on our own set of parameters to tailored ASI’s assessment and approach, but remain conscious always that all voting decisions are our own on behalf of our clients. We consider ISS’s recommendations and those based on our custom parameters as input to our voting decisions.


An ASI analyst will assess the resolutions at general meetings in our active investment portfolios. This analysis will be based on our knowledge of the company, but will also make use of the custom and standard recommendations provided by ISS as described above. The product of this analysis will be final voting decision instructed through ISS applied to all funds for which ASI have been appointed to vote. For funds managed by a sub-adviser, we may



Internal Use Only - Not to be disclosed outside Standard Life group





delegate to the sub-adviser the authority to vote proxies; however, the sub-adviser will be required to either follow our policies and procedures or to demonstrate that their policies and procedures are consistent with ours, or otherwise implemented in the best interest of clients.


There may be certain circumstances where ASI may take a more limited role in voting proxies. We will not vote proxies for client accounts in which the client contract specifies that ASI will not vote. We may abstain from voting a client proxy if the voting is uneconomic or otherwise not in clients’ best interests. For companies held only in passively managed portfolios the ASI custom recommendations provided by ISS will be used to automatically apply our voting approach; we have scope to intervene to test that this delivers appropriate results, and will on occasions intrude to apply a vote more fully in clients’ best interests. If voting securities are part of a securities lending program, we may be unable to vote while the securities are on loan. However, we have the ability to recall shares on loan or to restrict lending when required, in order to ensure all shares have voted. In addition, certain jurisdictions may impose share-blocking restrictions at various times which may prevent ASI from exercising our voting authority.


We recognize that there may be situations in which we vote at a company meeting where we encounter a conflict of interest. Such situations include:

·where a portfolio manager owns the holding in a personal account
·An investee company that is also a segregated client

·An investee company where an executive director or officer of our company is also a director of that company
·An investee company where an employee of ASI is a director of that company
·A significant distributor of our products
·Any other companies which may be relevant from time to time


In order to manage such conflicts of interests, we have established procedures to escalate decision-making so as to ensure that our voting decisions are based on our clients’ best interests and are not impacted by any conflict.


This policy has been developed by the ASI corporate governance working group. The implementation of this policy, along with the conflicts of interest database, will be reviewed periodically by the group. ASI’s Stewardship Policy is published on our website.


To the extent that an ASI Adviser may rely on sub-advisers, whether affiliated or unaffiliated, to manage any client portfolio on a discretionary basis, the ASI Adviser may delegate responsibility for voting proxies to the sub-adviser. However, such sub-advisers will be required either to follow these Policies and Procedures or to demonstrate that their proxy voting policies and procedures are consistent with these Policies and Procedures or otherwise implemented in the best interests of the ASI Advisers ’ clients. Clients that have not granted ASI voting authority over securities held in their accounts will receive their proxies in accordance with the arrangements they have made with their service providers.


As disclosed in Part 2A of each ASI Adviser’s Form ADV, a client may obtain information on how its proxies were voted by requesting such information from its ASI Adviser. Unless specifically requested by a client in writing, and other than as required for the Funds, the ASI Advisers do not generally disclose client-specific proxy votes to third parties.


Our proxy voting records are available per request and on the SEC’s website at SEC.gov.


On occasions when it is deemed to be a fiduciary for an ERISA client’s assets, ASI will vote the Plan assets in accordance with ASI’s Proxy Voting Policy and in line with DOL guidance.



Internal Use Only - Not to be disclosed outside Standard Life group