Proxinvest wants to compete with American mastodons in Europe

Posted on Oct 26, 2020 at 12:50 PM

Last June, the shareholder advisory agency Proxinvest changed hands. At 70, Pierre-Henri Leroy, well known for his rants, especially against the ” embezzlement of unscrupulous managers », Sold the majority of the capital of the company he had founded, to Alain Demarolle, a banker ex-adviser to Dominique de Villepin.

The place of Paris, which had feared for a time that this voting consulting agency would go under a foreign flag, was reassured. It should be even more so because Proxinvest has the ambition to position itself as a ” benchmark European player in governance », Indicates Alain Demarolle, Chairman of the Board of Directors. And this, in order to offer a real alternative to the two American behemoths, ISS (Institutional Shareholder Services) and Glass Lewis, present all over the world.

A place to take

“There is a place to take in Europe. We are legitimate with our expertise which dates back 25 years, ”explains Alain Demarolle. “Concretely, we are going to deeply extend our coverage. Proxinvest, which followed the MSCI Europe (ie 436 stocks) will now be able to cover up to 1,000 European listed companies according to the needs of our clients ”, he adds.

How? ‘Or’ What ? Proxinvest has long established partnerships with local players, such as Ethos, in Switzerland, a foundation which brings together more than 450 pension funds, Frontis in Italy, DWS, in Germany and Corporance, in Spain. This network, called ECGS, already offered European research. “But it lacked visibility. Investors were convinced that Proxinvest could only provide them with French research», Explains Loïc Dessaint, Managing Director of Proxinvest.

We have decided to change the way this network works and take it directly. European research, carried out by our local partners, will therefore be marketed under our brand. », Adds Loïc Dessaint.

Clearly, the latter will be remunerated by Proxinvest as suppliers. For stocks that are not yet tracked (small and mid caps), two options are possible. Local partners can initiate coverage. If they can’t, Proxinvest will.

Proxinvest has also decided to develop personalized governance advice for investors. This could mean providing them with governance research, in addition to voting recommendations for general meetings, or, for smaller ones, helping them write their shareholder engagement policy.

Steering committee renewed

The company has also entirely renewed its steering committee, which aims to give an advisory opinion on the principles of governance and the shareholder voting policy. The latter will be made up of the six largest French asset managers, experts, but also listed companies. Gérard Rameix, former chairman of the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) will chair this committee.

Proxinvest also plans to organize a grand prize every year to reward best practices in terms of governance. Finally, it has adopted its raison d’être, which consists in “supporting responsible investors in the full exercise of their shareholder rights, supporting shareholder democracy and ensuring responsible governance in the service of the long-term interests of all stakeholders. ”

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