Proxy Voting Policy

Policy Effective Date: December 1, 2019
Proxy Voting Guidelines

Pursuant to the adoption by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Rule 206(4)-6 under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Act”), it is a fraudulent, deceptive, or manipulative act, practice or course of business, within the meaning of Section 206(4) of the Act, for an investment adviser to exercise voting authority with respect to client securities, unless (1) the adviser has adopted and implemented written policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to ensure that the adviser votes proxies in the best interest of its clients, (2) the adviser describes its proxy voting procedures to its clients and provides copies on request, and (3) the adviser discloses to the clients how they may obtain information on how the adviser voted their proxies. This privacy policy (“Proxy Voting Policy”) documents CenterSquare’s proxy voting policies and procedures.

Proxy Committee

CenterSquare’s Proxy Committee (“Proxy Committee”) is responsible for overseeing the proxy voting process and for establishing and maintaining the Proxy Voting Policy, which is reviewed and updated annually. The Proxy Committee is comprised of the Chief Operating Officer, Director – Head of Securities Operations, and designated members of CenterSquare’s investment teams. The CenterSquare Compliance team will participate as a non-voting member of the Committee. At a minimum, the Proxy Committee will meet no less than annually to review and update the Proxy Voting Policy, if necessary, and to review other proxy voting topics as needed.

Policy Details

As a registered investment adviser, CenterSquare Investment Management LLC (“CenterSquare”) has a fiduciary duty to act solely in the best interest of its clients. This duty requires CenterSquare to vote proxies in a timely manner and make voting decisions that are in the best interests of its clients. All proxies received by CenterSquare are voted in accordance with these procedures and are intended to comply with Rule 206(4)-6 of the Act. This Proxy Voting Policy applies only to those CenterSquare clients who in their investment advisory contract have chosen to have us vote their proxies. At account start-up, upon amendment of an investment advisory agreement (“IMA”) or upon a letter of instruction, the applicable client IMA is reviewed to determine whether CenterSquare has authority to vote client proxies. As a UNPRI Signatory, CenterSquare has chosen to use the Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”) Sustainability Proxy Voting Guidelines as the default proxy policy for its clients. A client of CenterSquare may elect to use other ISS general or customized proxy voting guidelines through ISS. However, CenterSquare does not attempt to reconcile individual client proxy policies to the ISS Sustainability policy. A client may change their proxy-voting decision at any time. Clients who have delegated voting responsibilities to CenterSquare with respect to their account may direct CenterSquare to vote in a particular manner for a specific ballot. CenterSquare will use reasonable efforts to vote according to the client’s request in these circumstances, however our ability to implement such voting instructions will be dependent on operational matters such as the timing of the request.

A. Retention and Oversight of Proxy Service Provider

CenterSquare’s proxy voting policies and procedures are intended to meet the objective to act in its clients’ best interests. The sheer number of proxy votes related to client holdings makes it impossible for CenterSquare to research each and every proxy issue. Recognizing the importance of informed and responsible proxy voting, CenterSquare has retained an independent third party service provider, ISS, to analyze proxy issues, provide proxy research and recommendations on how to vote those issues, provide assistance in the administration of the proxy process, including maintaining complete proxy voting records.

CenterSquare monitors the capacity, competency, and conflicts of interest of ISS to ensure that CenterSquare continues to vote proxies in the best interest of its clients. On an annual basis, CenterSquare conducts a due diligence review of ISS regarding their proxy voting services as part of its investment advisory duty to perform oversight over the proxy voting firm. This review includes updates and discussion over the following areas of ISS:

  • Firm level initiatives and status updates
  • Research process
  • Legal and Compliance
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Information security and IT security controls
B. Decision Methods

ISS’ Global Voting Principles, launched in December 2013, provide for four key tenets on accountability, stewardship, independence, and transparency, which underlie their approach to developing recommendations on management and shareholder proposals at publicly traded companies1. ISS uses a bottom-up policy formulation process which collects feedback from a diverse range of market participants through multiple channels including an annual Policy Survey. The ISS Policy Board uses the input to develop its draft policy updates each year. Before finalizing these updates, ISS publishes draft updates for an open review and comment period. Beginning in 2008, all comments received are posted verbatim to the Policy Gateway, in order to provide additional transparency into the feedback ISS has received. Final updates are published in November, to apply to meetings held after February of the following year. ISS research analysts apply more than 400 policies to shareholder meetings. As part of the research process, ISS analysts interact with company representatives, institutional shareholders, shareholder proponents and other parties to gain deeper insight into key issues2. ISS reviews and updates their proxy polices on an annual basis. The ISS Policy Information is located under Policy Gateway at

When determining whether to invest in a company, one of the many factors CenterSquare may consider is the quality and depth of the company’s management. As a result, CenterSquare believes that recommendations of management on any issue (particularly routine issues) should be given a fair amount of weight in determining how proxy issues should be voted. Thus, on many issues, votes are cast in accordance with the recommendations of the company’s management. CenterSquare reviews all ballot items where ISS is recommending voting against the management of the issuer. Generally, CenterSquare will not override the ISS specific policy vote recommendations but reserves the right to change that vote when a CenterSquare Portfolio Manager disagrees with an ISS recommendation and feels it is in the best interest of all clients to change the proxy vote. CenterSquare Compliance (“Compliance”) is notified when an override of the ISS vote is proposed by a CenterSquare Portfolio Manager. Compliance will ascertain that appropriate justification for the override is reasonable and appropriately documented in the ISS voting records prior to the actual proxy vote. A rationale of our decision is noted within the ISS system when we override ISS’ specific policy recommendation and is included in the ballot summary reports. Proxy voting reports are available to clients upon request. For clients that have provided CenterSquare authority to vote proxies and have not otherwise selected other ISS general or customized proxy voting guidelines, proxy voting will be made on behalf of all client accounts in accordance with ISS Sustainability Proxy Voting Guidelines.

C. CenterSquare Conflicts of Interest

In certain instances, a conflict of interest may arise when CenterSquare votes a proxy. CenterSquare will deem to have a potential conflict of interest when voting proxies including, but not limited to, one or more of the following:

  • CenterSquare or one of its affiliates manages assets for that issuer or an affiliate of that issuer and also recommends that its other client’s investment in such issuer’s securities.
  • A director, trustee or officer of the issuer or affiliate of the issuer is an employee of CenterSquare or a director of CenterSquare or its affiliates, or a fund sub-advised by CenterSquare.
  • CenterSquare is actively soliciting that issuer or an affiliate of the issuer as a client
  • A director or executive officer of the issuer has a personal relationship with a member of the relevant investment team or other employee of CenterSquare that may affect the outcome of the proxy vote.

Each person who serves as a proxy administrator (“Proxy Administrator) as further defined below, is a member of an investment team, or serves on the Proxy Voting Committee shall, on at least an annual basis, certify:

  • a list of any portfolio companies with or in which he or she has a relationship or could otherwise be deemed to have a conflict and;
  • They have not been unduly influenced by an issuer or other third party to vote in a particular manner.

In situations where CenterSquare perceives a material conflict of the interest, the conflict is reported to the Chief Compliance Officer. It is expected that CenterSquare will abstain from making a vote decision and allow ISS to vote to mitigate the material conflict of interest.

D. Securities Lending

Some clients have, at their discretion, elected to participate in security lending programs. CenterSquare is unable to vote securities that are on loan under these types of arrangements.

E. Decisions not to Vote Proxies

CenterSquare fully recognizes its responsibility to process proxies and maintain proxy records pursuant to applicable rules and regulations. CenterSquare will therefore attempt to process every vote it receives for all domestic and foreign proxies. There may be situations in which CenterSquare cannot vote proxies. For example, the client or custodian does not forward the ballots in a timely manner.

Proxy voting in certain countries requires shareblocking. Shareblocking in general refers to restrictions on the sale or transfer of securities between the execution of the vote instruction and the tabulation of votes at the shareholder meeting. During the blocking period, shares that will be voted at the meeting cannot be sold until the meeting has taken place and the shares are returned to the client’s custodian bank. The blocking period may last from several days to several weeks depending upon the market, the security and the custodian. CenterSquare believes that in these situations, the benefit of maintaining liquidity during the share blocking period outweighs the benefit of exercising our right to vote. In order to preserve the account’s liquidity, CenterSquare will generally instruct ISS to “DO NOT VOTE” these shares.

Proxies relating to foreign securities may also be subject to additional documentation. Such documentation may be difficult to obtain or produce as a condition of voting or requires additional costs that generally outweigh the benefit to be gained by voting. Therefore, in some cases, those shares will not be voted.

F. Reporting

ISS provides CenterSquare on-line access to client proxy voting records. A summary of the proxy votes cast by CenterSquare is available to clients upon request for their specific portfolio. Due to confidentially and conflict of interest concerns, CenterSquare does not disclose to third parties how it votes client proxies.

CenterSquare’s proxy voting policies are disclosed in Form ADV Part 2A. A copy of this Proxy Voting Policy and the ISS Proxy Voting Guidelines is available to our clients, without charge, upon request. All requests may be sent to Liz Conklin, Director, Head of Securities Operations, CenterSquare Investment Management LLC, 630 West Germantown Pike, Suite 300, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462 or at

G. Proxy Administration and Recordkeeping

Members of CenterSquare’s securities operations department are responsible for the administration (“Proxy Administrator”) of the proxy voting process. Both ISS and the client’s custodian monitor corporate events for CenterSquare. CenterSquare gives an authorization and letter of instruction to the client’s custodian who then forwards proxy material it receives to ISS so that ISS may vote the proxies. On a regular basis, CenterSquare sends ISS an updated list of client accounts and the security holdings in those accounts so that ISS can update its database and is aware of which proxies it will need to vote.

The Proxy Administrator is responsible for:

  • monitoring reports identifying pending meetings and due dates for ballots
  • monitoring reports to ensure that clients are coded to the appropriate ISS policy,
  • ensuring ballots are voted according the ISS policy assigned to the client,
  • monitoring for share blocking ballots
  • monitoring reports for votes against management
  • reviewing user access and new / close account setups
  • performing vote overrides as required by Portfolio Managers and document changes and rationale for each vote override

CenterSquare or ISS also maintains the following records:

  • ballot summary reports for each client indicating which ballots were votes, number of shares voted, description of the proposal, how the shares were voted and the date on which the proxy was returned, and the policy applied
  • ballot summary reports for vote overrides with the Portfolio Managers rationale
  • meeting-level statistical reports
  • copy of each proxy statement received, provided that no copy needs to be retained of a proxy statement found on the SEC’s EDGAR website
H. Compliance Oversight

CenterSquare Compliance is responsible for testing compliance with the firm’s proxy voting policies and procedures set forth in this Proxy Voting Policy. As part of its annual testing program, CenterSquare Compliance testing procedures relating to proxy voting include:

  • annual review of the Proxy Voting Policy
  • annual review of proxy voting policies and procedures described in the firm’s ADV Form Part 2A
  • sampling of proxy voting records to ensure voting was complete in the best interest of clients and in accordance with the ISS Sustainability Proxy Voting Guidelines
  • sampling of proxy vote overrides and review of documentation supporting such overrides
  • participate in and review of the firm’s annual due diligence over the third-party proxy voting firm, ISS