The right to vote at general meetings is an important tool for shareholders who wish to defend their interests in the long term and have a positive influence on the practices of the companies they co-own.
Each year, Ethos covers more than 200 general meetings of listed companies in Switzerland. These analyses include a detailed analysis of each item on the agenda and voting recommendations based on Ethos' corporate governance principles and voting guidelines, which are reviewed and updated annually. They also provide a range of information on the company under review, in particular concerning its board of directors and remunaration of the governing bodies.
The exercise of voting rights is an obligation for Swiss pension funds (according to the ORAb), but it is also represents an important element of their fiduciary duty. That's why Ethos offers a comprehensive analysis service for general meetings and, on request, administrative assistance in exercising voting rights. In addition, Ethos publishes its voting recommendations on its website five days before the general meetings of Swiss companies.
Ethos also a subscription service for the analysis of general meetings of companies listed outside Switzerland (Europe, North America, Asia/Pacific), which represents around 500 analyses per year.
For Europe, primary research is carried out by a network of independent, experienced analysts who have been working with Ethos for many years and who have joined forces in 2023 to form the "Ethos European Network". Voting recommendations are also based on Ethos' voting guidelines. Analyses are generally sent to clients 12 days before the general meeting. A quarterly report summarising the highlights of the general meetings is also sent to clients.
Ethos offers institutional investors who have subscribed to its proxy voting service an administrative assistance in exercising their voting rights.
Private investors can also entrust Ethos with their voting rights for companies listed in Switzerland and included in the SPI index (with the exception of BKW and Evolva). Their votes will then be cast in accordance with the voting recommendations issued by Ethos. To do so, please proceed as follows:
- Tick the box "I give my proxy to the following shareholder" on the registration form;
- Complete the proxy form as follows: "Ethos Foundation, Place de Pont-Rouge 1, P.O. Box 1051, 1211 Geneva 26";
- Indicate on the registration form that the admission card for the Annual General Meeting is to be sent directly to the proxy;
- Return the duly signed form in the enclosed envelope to the company's share register office.
Ethos will then receive the admission card directly. For companies that send an order form for admission cards to the general meeting, the admission card must first be ordered and then, once received, indicated "Ethos" as the representative and sent duly signed to Ethos.