Shareholder Stewardship in the Netherlands: The Role of Institutional Investors in a Stakeholder Oriented Jurisdiction
34 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2020 Last revised: 29 Apr 2020
Date Written: February 17, 2020
We study institutional investors’ voice in the Netherlands, focusing on shareholder voting in particular. The Dutch Stewardship Code, developed by institutional investor platform Eumedion, came into force in January 2019, emphasises engagement and responsibilities of institutional investors in Dutch listed companies and should further boost the engagement with the investees. With a new dataset, we observe that institutional investors critically consider (non) current voting items which could negatively affect shareholder rights, like some of the amendments of the articles of association as well as remuneration packages of directors that contain insufficient or inappropriate incentives. Compared to other investors, institutional investors show significantly higher opposition rates. Particularly, Eumedion members show even higher opposition rates than other institutional investors. However, there may still be room for a stronger focus on the activities and outcomes of stewardship, including changing the behaviour of companies, and not just policy statements.
An edited version of the paper will be published as a chapter in “Global Shareholder Stewardship: Complexities, Challenges and Possibilities (Dionysia Katelouzou & Dan W. Puchniak eds, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)
Keywords: institutional investors, stewardship code, engagement, shareholder voting, the Netherlands
JEL Classification: G23, G34, K12, M14, O16
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