Investment advisers who exercise voting authority with respect to client securities must adopt and implement written policies and procedures, reasonably designed to ensure that the adviser votes proxies in the best interest of its clients. The procedures must address material conflicts that may arise in connection with proxy voting. The Rule further requires the adviser to provide a concise summary of the adviser’s proxy voting process and offer to provide copies of the complete proxy voting policy and procedures to clients upon request. Finally, the Rule requires that the adviser disclose to clients how they may obtain information regarding voted proxies.
RiverFront votes proxies for certain of its clients; therefore, it has adopted and implemented these Proxy Voting Policy and Procedures.
Proxies are an asset of a client, and as such should be treated with the same care, diligence, and loyalty as any asset belonging to a client. To that end, RiverFront (through Broadridge, as described below) will vote or withhold a decision to vote in a way that it believes, consistent with its fiduciary duty, will cause the value of the issue to increase the most or decline the least.
If a client wishes to use any general or specific proxy voting guidelines, these should be discussed with the client’s Sponsor Firm. The Sponsor Firm may determine whether to allow these exceptions and how they will be implemented. Clients may wish to have their proxies voted by an independent third party or other named fiduciary or agent, at the client’s cost; this type of request should also be discussed with the client’s Sponsor Firm. RiverFront will rely on information from the Sponsor Firm to process any exceptions to the guidelines and/or policy.
Procedures for Voting Proxies
RiverFront has voting responsibility for all client accounts (including registered investment company client accounts) over which it has discretion, unless explicitly noted otherwise in the client’s Advisory Agreement or, for clients that are registered investment companies, the Sub-Advisory Agreement. RiverFront will generally cast votes for all shares for which it has voting authority.
In light of RiverFront’s fiduciary duties,and given the complexity of the issues that may be raised in connection with proxy votes, RiverFront has retained Broadridge Financial Solutions (“Broadridge”) to assist in the coordination and voting of client proxies. Broadridge specializes in providing a variety of fiduciary-level proxy-related services to investment managers. The services provided to RiverFront include timely delivery of meeting and record date information, proxy analysis and voting through an electronic web-based vote execution platform, and detailed recordkeeping for RiverFront’s proxy voting function.
Broadridge will vote client proxies according to Glass Lewis & Co.’s (“Glass Lewis”) recommendations (described below). Glass Lewis is a leading provider of governance and engagement support services to institutional investors and corporations, offering research, proxy vote management, and technology platforms. The following guidelines will be followed:
- Broadridge to monitor and keep track of all proxy votes; and,
- Broadridge to vote pursuant to the guidelines suggested by Glass Lewis.
- In certain limited circumstances, a proxy may be received from sources other than Broadridge. In such circumstances, RiverFront will forward the proxy to Broadridge.
Resolving Potential Conflicts of Interest
We recognize that conflicts of interest may arise for a variety of reasons. Under certain circumstances, RiverFront may face a conflict of interest voting proxies for client accounts. For example, RiverFront has voting discretion with respect to client accounts (including registered investment company clients) that own securities of mutual funds or ETFs for which RiverFront serves as a sub-adviser. Determinations by RiverFront as to whether and how to vote proxies with respect to such securities may pose a conflict of interests for RiverFront, particularly to the extent that the proxy relates to the (continued) appointment of RiverFront as the mutual fund or ETF sub-adviser. When faced with a conflict of interest in voting a client’s proxy, Broadridge and RiverFront use the pre-determined guidelines and research from Glass Lewis to determine the appropriate vote by RiverFront. In similar and other circumstances, the Investment Team will reasonably try to assess any material conflicts between RiverFront’s interests and those of its clients with respect to proxy voting. If the Investment Team detects a conflict of interest, Broadridge will use pre-determined guidelines and their research to make an objective voting decision.
Notwithstanding such proxy voting processes, proxy voting decisions made by RiverFront may benefit the interests of RiverFront and/or another client account, provided that RiverFront believes such voting decisions to be in accordance with its fiduciary duties.
RiverFront will maintain the documentation described in the following section for a period of not less than five (5) years, the first two (2) years at its principal place of business. The CCO will be responsible for the following procedures and for ensuring that the required documentation is retained.
Client request to review proxy votes:
- Clients are informed that they should direct proxy voting information requests to RiverFront.
- Any request, whether written (including email) or oral, received by any Employee of RiverFront, must be promptly forwarded to the CCO or her designee, for processing. All written requests must be retained in a permanent file.
- In order to facilitate the management of the proxy voting recordkeeping process, and to facilitate the dissemination of such proxy voting records to clients, RiverFront may distribute to any client requesting proxy voting information the completeproxy voting record for that client for the period requested.
- RiverFront will furnish the information requested, free of charge, to the client within a reasonable time period (within 10 business days). RiverFront will maintain a copy of the written record provided in response to client’s written (including email) or oral request.
- Clients are permitted to request the proxy voting record for the five-year period prior to
Glass Lewis Proxy Paper™ Guidelines (provided by Glass Lewis)
The purpose of Glass Lewis proxy research and advice is to facilitate shareholder voting in favor of governance structures that will drive performance, create shareholder value and maintain a proper tone at the top. Glass Lewis evaluates its Proxy Paper™ Guidelines on an ongoing basis and formally updates the policy on an annual basis. These guidelines are maintained by RiverFront and incorporated into this policy by reference.
RiverFront reviews the Glass Lewis guidelines annually to ensure they are consistent with clients’ best interest. Additionally, RiverFront will review Glass Lewis’ policies and procedures regarding potential conflicts of interest to confirm that Glass Lewis remains independent and objective in the formation of its voting decisions. Lastly, RiverFront will periodically review a sample of proxy votes to test whether the votes were in compliance with Glass Lewis’ stated voting guidelines.
Proxy statements received regarding client securities:
Upon physical receipt of a proxy, it is forwarded to Broadridge for processing.
Note: RiverFront is permitted to rely on proxy statements filed on the SEC’s EDGAR system instead of keeping its own copies.
Proxy voting records:
Proxy voting records for proxies voted by Broadridge are available via ProxyEdge, which is a web-based database.
RiverFront will ensure that Part 2A of Form ADV is updated as necessary to reflect: (i) all material changes to the Proxy Voting Policy and Procedures; ((ii) conflicts of interest of RiverFront with those of its clients with respect to proxy voting; and (iii) information about how clients may obtain information on how RiverFront voted proxies.
The CCO and/or her designees are responsible for managing the relationship with Broadridge, ensuring that proxies are being properly voted, and confirming that Broadridge is retaining the appropriate proxy voting records.
Last Updated August 2018