The Trusts and Funds Management have adopted policies and procedures ("Proxy Voting Procedures") that are used to vote proxies relating to portfolio securities held by the Funds of the Trusts. The Proxy Voting Procedures are designed to ensure that proxies are voted in the best interests of Fund shareholders, without regard to any relationship that any affiliated person of the Fund (or an affiliated person of such affiliated person) may have with the issuer of the security.
The responsibility for voting proxies relating to the Funds' portfolio securities has been delegated by the Board of Trustees to Funds Management. In accordance with the Proxy Voting Procedures, Funds Management exercises its voting responsibility with the goal of maximizing value to shareholders consistent with governing laws and the investment policies of each Fund. While each Fund does not purchase securities to exercise control or to seek to effect corporate change through share ownership, it supports sound corporate governance practices within companies in which it invests and reflects that support through its proxy voting process.
Funds Management has established a Proxy Voting Committee (the "Proxy Committee") that is responsible for overseeing the proxy voting process and ensuring that the voting process is implemented in conformance with the Proxy Voting Procedures. Funds Management has retained an independent, unaffiliated nationally recognized proxy voting company as proxy voting agent. The Proxy Committee monitors the proxy voting agent and the voting process and, in certain situations, votes proxies or directs the proxy voting agent how to vote.
The Proxy Voting Procedures set out guidelines regarding how Funds Management and the proxy voting agent will vote proxies. Where the voting policy specify a particular vote on a particular matter, the proxy voting agent handles the proxy, generally without further involvement by the Proxy Committee. Where the voting policy specifies the proxy voting agent forwards the proxy to the Proxy Committee for a vote determination by the Proxy Committee. To the extent the voting policy does not address a proxy voting proposal, Funds Management will vote pursuant to the proxy voting agent's current U.S. and International proxy voting guidelines. The Proxy Committee may exercise a discretionary vote if it determines that a case-by-case review of a particular matter is warranted. As a general matter, proxies are voted consistently in the same matter when securities of an issuer are held by multiple Funds of the Trusts.
In all cases where the Proxy Committee makes the decision regarding how a particular proxy should be voted, the Proxy Committee exercises its voting discretion in accordance with the voting philosophy of the Funds and in the best interests of Fund shareholders. In deciding how to vote, the Proxy Committee may rely on independent research, input and recommendations from third parties including independent proxy services, other independent sources, sub-advisers, company managements and shareholder groups as part of its decision-making process.
In most cases, any potential conflicts of interest involving Funds Management or any affiliate regarding a proxy are avoided through the strict and objective application of the Fund's voting policy. However, when the Proxy Committee is aware of a material conflict of interest regarding a matter that would otherwise be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Proxy Committee, the Proxy Committee shall address the material conflict by using any of the following methods: (i) instructing the proxy voting agent to vote in accordance with the recommendation it makes to its clients; (ii) disclosing the conflict to the Board and obtaining their consent before voting; (iii) submitting the matter to the Board to exercise its authority to vote on such matter; (iv) engaging an independent fiduciary who will direct the Proxy Committee on voting instructions for the proxy; (v) consulting with outside legal counsel for guidance on resolution of the conflict of interest; (vi) erecting information barriers around the person or persons making voting decisions; (vii) voting in proportion to other shareholders; or (viii) voting in other ways that are consistent with each Fund's obligation to vote in the best interests of its shareholders. Additionally, the Proxy Committee does not permit its votes to be influenced by any conflict of interest that exists for any other affiliated person of the Funds (such as a subadviser or principal underwriter) and the Proxy Committee votes all such matters without regard to the conflict. The Proxy Voting Procedures may reflect voting positions that differ from practices followed by other companies or subsidiaries of Wells Fargo & Company.
While Funds Management uses its best efforts to vote proxies, in certain circumstances it may be impractical or impossible for Funds Management to vote proxies (e.g., limited value or unjustifiable costs). For example, in accordance with local law or business practices, many foreign companies prevent the sales of shares that have been voted for a certain period beginning prior to the shareholder meeting and ending on the day following the meeting (“share blocking”). Due to these restrictions, Funds Management must balance the benefits to its clients of voting proxies against the potentially serious portfolio management consequences of a reduced flexibility to sell the underlying shares at the most advantageous time. As a result, Funds Management will generally not vote those proxies in the absence of an unusual, significant vote or compelling economic importance. Additionally, Funds Management may not be able to vote proxies for certain foreign securities if Funds Management does not receive the proxy statement in time to vote the proxies due to custodial processing delays.
As a general matter, securities on loan will not be recalled to facilitate proxy voting (in which case the borrower of the security shall be entitled to vote the proxy). However, if the Proxy Committee is aware of an item in time to recall the security and has determined in good faith that the importance of the matter to be voted upon outweighs the loss in lending revenue that result from recalling the security (i.e., if there is a controversial upcoming merger or acquisition, or some other significant matter), the security will be recalled for voting.