AP4 details work on corporate governance; voted in almost 1,000 AGMs

Sweden’s AP4 has detailed its work in the area of corporate governance during the first half of 2021, in which has voted in almost 1,000 general meetings in total.

Over the period, AP4 has worked in 40 nomination committees, voted at 125 Swedish general meetings and 873 foreign general meetings, totalling almost 998. As a long-term owner, the fund said it works for the benefit of each company and its shareholders.

AP4's goal is for the companies' operations to be developed, managed and run responsibly and thereby contribute to long-term value creation, it explained.

AP4 head of corporate governance, Thomas Ehlin, said: “During the spring, the corporate governance work has had a strong focus on evaluating company boards' performance and developing proposals for the best boards. Other important areas that AP4 continuously works with are strategic issues, capital structure, remuneration and companies' work with sustainability issues, corporate governance, diversity, environment and social issues.”

He added that AP4 is among the 10 largest owners in 97 companies and among the five largest owners in 70 companies. “This gives us a relatively significant ownership role in a large number of companies. Thus, we have a great responsibility to be an active owner,” Ehlin stated.

In the 40 nomination committees in which AP4 participated during the first half of 2021, the proportion of women on the companies' boards was 35.6 per cent. This year is a lower level and is partly due to a different composition of companies compared with previous years. At the same time, the level is higher than the average for all Swedish listed companies, which is 34.8 per cent, AP4 said.

“Corporate dialogues are an important tool in corporate governance work to increase understanding and build trust between parties. We have a continuous dialogue with companies and follow companies' development very closely. This means that we can influence and take a position on various issues and communicate clear expectations on companies' boards and managements,” Ehlin said.

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