In our ownership work we aim to generate the highest possible return over time with the goal of ensuring that the companies’ operations develop and be conducted responsibly and transparently, and thereby contribute to long-term value creation.
Active corporate governance is a tool for creating and stewarding shareholder value over time. Within the framework of our corporate governance we work with matters such as board composition, capital structure, structuring of long-term remuneration programmes, diversity of human capital, companies’ work with sustainability issues and transparency in reporting. We strive to promote companies’ long-term development in the best way possible and take other owners’ interests into account as well as the best interest of the companies in question.
Sustainability goals for corporate governance
The goals and activities we have set for measuring our corporate governance work are:
- Service on nomination committees by virtue of our share of ownership
- Interview board members in connection with board evaluations
- Work to increase diversity among boards
- Vote at general meetings of Swedish companies
- Vote at general meetings of foreign companies
- Support initiatives that promote shareholders’ rights and companies’ work with sustainability
Corporate governance in Swedish companies
AP4 is one of the ten largest institutional investors in the Swedish stock market, and by virtue of this we are a significant owner that has an opportunity to influence companies in a positive direction, but also to contribute to good practice and well-working stock markets. We focus our ownership work on the companies and areas that we believe contribute the most benefit, and we often work together with other owners and market actors.
Nomination committee work an important part of corporate governance activities
A central part of AP4’s investment philosophy for Swedish equity management is to act long-term in our ownership role based on large ownership positions. If is for this reason that we dedicate a large share of our time to nomination committee work and dialogue with companies. Working on nomination committees gives us a better understanding of the companies as a whole, and we regard such work as an effective tool for understanding, managing and minimising risks in our holdings, which over time creates and upholds shareholder value. We see nomination committee work as an important governance tool for ensuring that the companies we have ownership in will perform well and thereby contribute to long-term sustainable value creation, which is essential if we are to achieve our goal of delivering a high active return over time.
Corporate governance in foreign companies
Shareholder rights vary from country to country; often, voting rights can be more restricted in companies abroad than in Sweden. In foreign companies, our share of ownership is typically lower than 0.05%, which affects opportunities to exercise corporate governance as well as access to companies’ boards and managements. AP4 votes in accordance with AP4’s ownership policy and on such matters that normally arise at general meetings, such as election of directors and remuneration matters. We prioritise voting:
- in the larger companies in the respective markets,
- in companies with which the Council on Ethics of the AP Funds has engaged in a dialogue,
- in companies that are included in portfolios in which we conduct active management, and
- in companies in which we support an international initiative.
Every year AP4 votes at more than 1,000 general meetings of foreign companies. In the practical voting process we use an electronic voting platform.
Find out how AP4 voted in foreign companies.