Legal & General IM (LGIM) opposed the election of more than 4,000 company directors in 2019, as the asset manager ramped up engagement efforts across the board, the company's annual Active Ownership report has revealed.
The report also revealed the UK-based firm brought sanctions against 11 companies it defines as "climate laggards", opposed 35% of pay packages globally and voted against at least one resolution at 71% of companies due to concerns about the suitability of directors or auditors, pay or company strategy.
The report explained: "If companies spend investors' money on lobbying governments, we expect them to account for how and why they do this. We use our engagement and votes to shed light on this activity."
In these unprecedented times, we are reminded of how interconnected the world is – but also that sustainability, good governance, and fair treatment of employees will be the building blocks of a better future."
Sacha Sadan, director of investment stewardship at LGIM, said: "In these unprecedented times, we are reminded of how interconnected the world is - but also that sustainability, good governance, and fair treatment of employees will be the building blocks of a better future.
"LGIM will continue to support and hold companies to account for their stakeholder responsibilities, taking a strong stance with regulators in support of improved market standards, and seeking collaboration to drive progress on the issues that matter to our clients and society at large".
Michelle Scrimgeour, chief executive of LGIM, added, "We believe that responsible investing is crucial to mitigate risks, capture opportunities and strengthen long-term returns."
Elsewhere, BlackRock's latest quarterly report from its investment stewardship team revealed the asset management giant has executed 802 engagements across 700 companies for a total of 18,758 proposal votes in the first quarter of this year.
BlackRock voted against one or more management recommendations at over 30% of shareholder meetings around the world and against more than 500 corporate directors in the first quarter.
The firm said it had also held "nearly 150" covid-19 related engagements with investee in the quarter, "reflecting the reality that management teams were facing as they sought to understand the depth of this crisis, with human capital management, risk management and corporate strategy as particular areas of focus."
Mike Sheen contributed reporting