Independent governance firm Glass Lewis has recommended Hunter Hall Global Value shareholders vote against resolutions proposed by Wilson Asset Management to replace the funds’ board.
Glass Lewis’ recommendations, released on the ASX yesterday by Hunter Hall Global Value (HHV), said Wilson Asset Management’s (WAM) proposed resolutions to spill the current HHV board were not in the best interests of shareholders.
“Having reviewed the circumstances leading up to the current situation, as well as arguments made by both WAM and the current HHV board with respect to the best path forward for all shareholders, we believe the current board has presented shareholders with a compelling case to reject all the resolutions proposed by WAM,” Glass Lewis said.
“As it relates to the qualifications and experience of WAM’s director nominees as compared to the current HHV board members, we believe the current directors of HHV remain the best qualified to govern in a manner which will be consistent with the interests of all HHV shareholders.”
WAM subsequently issued a message from chair Geoff Wilson to its shareholders, of which over 1,600 have a stake in HHV, advising them to vote in favour of the resolutions.
Mr Wilson said the current HHV board was “too captive to the interests of [HHV parent company] Hunter Hall”, and that this had cost shareholders through “inflated directors’ fees, a persistent discount to net tangible assets and continued underperformance”.
“The only way to break this cosy relationship is to replace the current directors with new directors who are independent, ethical, highly skilled and aligned with shareholders’ interests,” Mr Wilson said.
“Each of the proposed directors has made significant professional and philanthropic contributions and clearly meet these criteria.”
Glass Lewis’ recommendations follow an announcement made last week by Washington H. Soul Pattinson (which currently has a 6.95 per cent stake in HHV) that it intends to vote against all the proposed resolutions.
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