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Pension fund exercise slightly more voting rights in 2017

All News 09:31 January 10, 2018

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- The National Pension Service (NPS) exercised more voting rights last year as a major shareholder at the top 30 conglomerates, but without being able to change much of the outcome independently, data showed Wednesday.

CEO Score, a corporate research firm that tracks big companies, analyzed boardroom votes by the NPS at regular and extra meetings of shareholders. Results showed that the pension fund opposed 85 of 639 agenda items at 144 meetings. The opposition rate was 13.3 percent, 3.3 percentage points higher than in 2016.

Approval votes dropped to 86.1 percent, or 550 agendas, down 3.3 percentage points. The abstention rate was similar at 0.6 percent, or 4 cases.

Despite being a louder voice at boardrooms, the NPS vote influenced the outcome on only four items throughout the year, a rate of 0.6 percent, according to the data.

Most of the opposition vote was in selecting and dismissing corporate executives, which accounted for 40 cases. Another 16 cases were in revising company rules, 14 in setting paychecks for executives and auditors, nine in approving financial statements and dividends, and five in matters related to company mergers and splits.

By business group, the pension fund exercised the most opposing vote at CJ where it rejected 13 of 39 agenda items. Four of these votes had to do with high pay for executives and auditors at the group's affiliates.

Three of the four votes that did change the outcome were made at Lotte Group, all related to the conglomerate's transition to a holding company system.

Noteworthy vote decisions by NPS included non-opposition to affiliate spin-offs by Hyundai Heavy Industries and appointments and salary for executives at financially troubled Kumho Asiana Group.

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