This Bermuda-based business, formerly Fidelity Worldwide Investments, oversees Fidelity’s business outside the United States. With a substantial base of operation in London, Fidelity International handles the company’s non-North American business, servicing clients in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and South America.
Fidelity International caused a stir in 2012 when fund manager Dominic Rossi called for greater transparency in UK executive pay and called for more shareholder rights in vetoing executive pay increases. Rossi noted that, “Boardroom pay dramatically increased relative to the average pay of all employees in a company” and said that renumeration committees -- similar to compensation committees in U.S. companies -- should be checked by shareholders o executive pay.
Yet this level of accountability hasn’t been in vogue across the rest of the company. Fidelity has been criticized in the U.S. and elsewhere for blocking “proxy access” -- giving shareholders the right to propose board members at the companies they are invested in. in 2015, Fidelity opposed efforts by a major client -- the New York city pension funds -- to press proxy access proposals at 75 companies in its portfolio. Many of the companies eventually supported better shareholder support for nominating board members, even as Fidelity was providing cover for the resistors. Fidelity got a dismal 10 percent rating -- the bottom tier of rankings -- in the AFL-CIO’s annual rankings of proxy access support in 2016. “Good corporate governance matters to shareholders, and proxy voting is the most direct means for shareholders to exercise oversight in relation to the corporations they own,” the AFL-CIO said. The New York Times called Fidelity’s practice of opposing shareholder say in corporate governance as supporting “keep(ing) the insiders in.” In 2017, Fidelity said it would reverse its practice of opposing proxy access, but the AFL-CIO scorecard issued in January 2018 still ranked the fund manager in the bottom tier of its rankings with a just a 28.5 percent rate of support for proxy access at selected companies.more » « less