Proxy Blog

NiSource, Inc. 

May 4, 2020

The annual proxy for this utility had the following proposals: 

  1. Proforma votes on directors, appointment of auditors, and “say-on-pay” advisory vote 
  2. Board proposal on incentive plan 
  3. Shareholder proposal on written consent 

Magni voted as follows: 

  1. For proforma proposals.
    Directors – The board has a majority of independent directors and some have CEO/CFO experience with other companies. The compensation of directors is disclosed with a meaningful portion in equity where the equity has restrictions to align director incentives with long-term value creation. 
    -Auditors – There appear to be no controversies with the financial statements of the company.
    -“Say-on-pay”  Last year Magni voted against this proposal as the shareholder engagement disclosure was incomplete. This year, the disclosure on the shareholder engagement program has improved. The peer group disclosure was acceptable, though the company has a market capitalization below the average of the peer group. Such a situation can create an upward bias in target compensation levels. Magni will vote for this proposal during this proxy cycle; however, Magni will not support this proposal next year unless there is an adjustment to the peer group. 
  2. For board proposal on incentive plan – Stock plans align the interests of the management team with the shareholders. 
  3. Against shareholder proposal on written consent – Per the Magni position paper, Magni routinely votes against these proposals.