Sibanye-Stillwater, a South African global gold producer, provided its annual proxy. This proxy had the following proposals:
- Proforma votes on directors and appointment of auditors
- Proforma European-style votes on approval of accounts, annual confirmation of authorities, and compensation plans
- Board proposal on a special resolution with vague language
The available disclosures were incomplete and substantially less than found in an American proxy statement. Magni voted as follows:
- For and Against proforma proposals.
-Against Directors – The lack of information about the candidates prevented any analysis of the candidates’ qualifications.
-For Auditors – The accounting statements seemed to be in order. The disclosures appeared complete. And there were no apparent accounting controversies.
- For and against European-style proforma proposals.
-For accounts & authorities – Under US laws and regulations, these matters are handled by the board, thus the topics do not warrant votes by shareholders of US companies. Magni usually votes in support of these topics, unless some controversy or issue has arisen that requires additional investigation or justifies a vote against. In this case, the lack of a proxy is a form of opaqueness, and opaqueness is incompatible with good governance. That said, Magni voted for the accounts and authorities since in the U.S. the topics are not matters requiring shareholder votes.
-Against director positions on committees – This proposal is more common in Asia. In any case, the lack of information about directors prevented any analysis of the candidates’ suitability for the recommended committee positions.
-Against CEO and board compensation plan – The disclosure was incomplete (e.g., no information about benchmarking or relative performance of the company versus peers), thus preventing analysis of the board process to determine the plan.
-For share compensation plan for executives – The disclosure appeared complete and there were no identifiable issues with the plan.
- Against board proposal. The proposal did not explain the special resolution. A South African law was cited, though there was no explanation of the law or the implications.