Chair of Best Practice Principles for Shareholder Voting Research Review Announced

Prepared by: Best Practice Principles Group for Shareholder Voting Research

(“BPP Group”)

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Released: 17 October, 2018

The charter signatories to the Best Practice Principles for Shareholder Voting Research &
Analysis (the “BPP Group”) today announced the appointment of independent Chair, Danielle A.M. Melis Ph.D, to finalize the Review of the operation of the Principles and to steer the Group through the implementation stages of the EU Shareholder Rights Directive. Dr Melis succeeds Chris Hodge as independent Chair and will continue to promote the Review’s original objectives, including future oversight arrangements for monitoring and reviewing.

Commenting on Dr Melis’ appointment, the BPP Group Committee said: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Melis as the Review’s new Chair. With Dr Melis’ exceptional qualifications and financial market experience, we are confident that the Review’s objectives will be delivered.”

The Review will reassess, and where needed, amend the Principles, also ensuring the Principles address the transparency requirements for proxy advisors outlined in the amendments to the revised EU Shareholder Rights Directive 2007/36/EC, adopted on 3 April 2017 and due for implementation in 2019. The updated Principles will also be capable of being applied in all markets where voting research is provided, and by all types of service providers.

Dr Melis is currently acting as an independent member of various boards in The Netherlands. She is a member of the Board of the General Pension Fund, STAP, founded in 2016 by insurance company Aegon. In addition to this executive role, she currently holds three nonexecutive board positions, on the Supervisory Boards of the Pension Fund for Medical Specialists (SPMS), Kempen Capital Management Investment Funds and Blue Sky Group Holding, respectively.

Dr Melis is also an appointed member of the Disciplinary Council of the Dutch Securities Institute (DSI), a Senior Fellow with the IvO Center for Financial law & Governance, a member of the ICGN Shareholders Responsibilities Committee and is on the Editorial Board of SHIFT TO Long Term Investing. Previously, Dr Melis was the Chair of the Nyenrode Corporate Governance Institute and a member of the core faculty of Nyenrode Business University from 2009 until 2017, leading various research teams for compliance research studies on behalf of the Monitoring Committee of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code. In 2014 she successfully defended her dissertation titled “The Institutional Investors Stewardship Myth: a theoretical, legal and empirical analysis of prescribed institutional investor stewardship in a Dutch context”. Her background is in the financial sector, where she held various positions with MeesPierson,NIBC and Rabobank.

Commenting on her new role as BPP Review Chair, Dr Melis said: “The Best Practice Principles are to promote the integrity and efficiency of shareholder voting research services, which play an important role in investors exercising their stewardship rights and responsibilities effectively. In light of the new transparency requirements for proxy advisors and also to promote a greater understanding of the role of shareholder voting research providers in the investment chain as one of the original objectives of BPPG, I very much look forward to steering the final stage of the Review of the BPP and its implementation towards a revised set of Best Practice Principles for shareholder voting research that not only serve the BPPG members, but more importantly provide guidance for both the investors they serve as well as the companies they research.”

Note to Editors:
The Best Practice Principles for Shareholder Voting Research were launched in March 2014 following two public consultations. The Principles were developed at the suggestion of the European Securities & Markets Authority (ESMA) which suggested that the industry would benefit from increased understanding of how it operates. The Principles are global in their scope and can be used by any organisation providing research services to inform institutional investors’ stewardship and voting decisions.

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