March 1, 2011
For a copy of the full Proxy Voting Guidelines and Procedures document, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certain affiliates of The TCW Group, Inc. (these affiliates are collectively referred to as “TCW”) act as investment advisors for a variety of clients, including mutual funds. If TCW has responsibility for voting proxies in connection with these investment advisory duties, or has the responsibility to specify to an agent of the client how to vote the proxies, TCW exercises such voting responsibilities for its clients through the corporate proxy voting process. TCW believes that the right to vote proxies is a significant asset of its clients’ holdings. In order to provide a basis for making decisions in the voting of proxies for its clients, TCW has established a proxy voting committee (the "Proxy Committee") and adopted proxy voting guidelines and procedures (the “Guidelines”). The Proxy Committee generally meets quarterly (or at such other frequency as determined by the Proxy Committee), and its duties include establishing proxy voting guidelines and procedures, overseeing the internal proxy voting process, and reviewing proxy voting issues. The members of the Proxy Committee include TCW personnel from the investment, compliance, legal and marketing departments. TCW also uses outside proxy voting services (each an “Outside Service”) to help manage the proxy voting process. An Outside Service facilitates TCW's voting according to the Guidelines (or, if applicable, according to guidelines submitted by TCW's clients) and helps maintain TCW's proxy voting records. All proxy voting and record keeping by TCW is, of course, dependent on the timely provision of proxy ballots by custodians, clients and other third parties. Under specified circumstances described below involving potential conflicts of interest, an Outside Service may also be requested to help decide certain proxy votes. In certain limited circumstances, particularly in the area of structured financing, TCW may enter into voting agreements or other contractual obligations that govern the voting of shares. In the event of a conflict between any such contractual requirements and the Guidelines, TCW will vote in accordance with its contractual obligations.
The Guidelines provide a basis for making decisions in the voting of proxies for clients of TCW. When voting proxies, TCW’s utmost concern is that all decisions be made solely in the interests of the client and with the goal of maximizing the value of the client’s investments. With this goal in mind, the Guidelines cover various categories of voting decisions and generally specify whether TCW will vote for or against a particular type of proposal. TCW’s underlying philosophy, however, is that its portfolio managers, who are primarily responsible for evaluating the individual holdings of TCW’s clients, are best able to determine how to further client interests and goals. The portfolio managers may, in their discretion, take into account the recommendations of TCW management, the Proxy Committee, and an Outside Service.
Overrides and Conflict Resolution
Individual portfolio managers, in the exercise of their best judgment and discretion, may from time to time override the Guidelines and vote proxies in a manner that they believe will enhance the economic value of clients’ assets, keeping in mind the best interests of the beneficial owners. The Guidelines provide procedures for documenting and, as required, approving such overrides. It is unlikely that serious conflicts of interest will arise in the context of TCW’s proxy voting, because TCW does not engage in investment banking or the managing or advising of public companies.
In the event a potential conflict of interest arises in the context of voting proxies for TCW’s clients, the primary means by which TCW will avoid a conflict is by casting such votes solely in the interests of its clients and in the interests of maximizing the value of their portfolio holdings. In this regard, if a potential conflict of interest arises but the proxy vote to be decided is predetermined under the Guidelines to be cast either in favor or against, then TCW will follow the Guidelines and vote accordingly. On the other hand, if a potential conflict of interest arises and there is no predetermined vote, or the Guidelines themselves refer such vote to the portfolio manager for decision, or the portfolio manager would like to override a predetermined vote, then the Guidelines provide procedures for determining whether a material conflict of interest exists and, if so, resolving such conflict.
Proxy Voting Information and Recordkeeping
Upon request, TCW provides proxy voting records to its clients. These records state how votes were cast on behalf of client accounts, whether a particular matter was proposed by the company or a shareholder, and whether or not TCW voted in line with management recommendations. TCW is prepared to explain to clients the rationale for votes cast on behalf of client accounts. To obtain proxy voting records, a client should contact TCW's Proxy Specialist.
TCW or an Outside Service will keep records of the following items: (i) the Guidelines; (ii) proxy statements received regarding client securities (unless such statements are available on the SEC's Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) system); (iii) records of votes cast on behalf of clients (if maintained by an Outside Service, that Outside Service will provide copies of those records promptly upon request); (iv) records of written requests for proxy voting information and TCW's response (whether a client's request was oral or in writing); and (v) any documents prepared by TCW that were material to making a decision how to vote, or that memorialized the basis for the decision. Additionally, TCW or an Outside Service will maintain any documentation related to an identified material conflict of interest.
TCW or an Outside Service will maintain these records in an easily accessible place for at least five years from the end of the fiscal year during which the last entry was made on such record. For the first two years, TCW or an Outside Service will store such records at its principal office.
International Proxy Voting
While TCW utilizes the Guidelines for both their international and domestic portfolios and clients, there are some significant differences between voting U.S. company proxies and voting non-U.S. company proxies. For U.S. companies, it is relatively easy to vote proxies, as the proxies are automatically received and may be voted by mail or electronically. In most cases, the officers of a U.S. company soliciting a proxy act as proxies for the company's shareholders.
For proxies of non-U.S. companies, however, it is typically both difficult and costly to vote proxies. The major difficulties and costs may include: (i) appointing a proxy; (ii) knowing when a meeting is taking place; (iii) obtaining relevant information about proxies, voting procedures for foreign shareholders, and restrictions on trading securities that are subject to proxy votes; (iv) arranging for a proxy to vote; and (v) evaluating the cost of voting. Furthermore, the operational hurdles to voting proxies vary by country. As a result, TCW considers whether or not to vote an international proxy based on the particular facts and circumstances. However, when TCW believes that an issue to be voted is likely to affect the economic value of the portfolio securities, that its vote may influence the ultimate outcome of the contest, and that the benefits of voting the proxy exceed the expected costs, TCW will make every reasonable effort to vote such proxies.