Excerpt from Proxy Circular published February 20, 2014 for the Annual Meeting on April 3, 2014.
DISCLOSURE OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE PRACTICES
Our board of directors and management believe that sound corporate governance practices contribute to managing the bank effectively and to achieving our strategic and operational plans, goals and objectives. The board’s corporate governance policies and practices are consistent with the Canadian Securities Administrators’ National Policy 58-201 Corporate Governance Guidelines (CSA Guidelines) and focus on the board’s responsibilities to the bank’s shareholders and on creating long-term shareholder value. These policies and practices take into account rules of the TSX. Because the bank is regulated by OSFI, these policies and practices also comply with OSFI’s Corporate Governance Guideline. Lastly, although they do not all directly apply to the bank, these policies and practices take into account rules of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The governance framework includes the charters and key practices of the board and its committees and a set of Corporate Governance Guidelines published on our website at www.td.com/governance/index.jsp.
You can find additional governance information on our website, including the Code of Conduct and Ethics, the Disclosure Policy, the Director Independence Policy, the position description for directors, the position description for the CEO, and the charters of the board, its committees, the chairman of the board, and the chairs of the committees. The corporate governance committee reviews corporate governance principles and practices each year and recommends, where required, amendments to the board for consideration and approval.
Board of Directors
For information on director nominees proposed for election, such as other public company boards on which they serve, key areas of expertise/experience and their attendance record for all bank board and committee meetings during fiscal 2013, please see the “Director Nominees” section of this circular.
The board believes that to be effective it needs to operate independently of management. This means that a large majority of the board and all committee members are not part of management and do not have relationships with the bank that would make them personally beholden to the bank and consequently interfere with the exercise of their independent judgment. Currently, an overwhelming majority of our directors are independent. Of the 16 nominees proposed for election, 14, or 88%, are “independent” under the bank’s Director Independence Policy (available at www.td.com/governance/other_policies.jsp ) and the CSA Guidelines and are not “affiliated” under the Bank Act.
Each audit committee member meets additional independence criteria under the Director Independence Policy and applicable law. Because of their positions, W. Edmund Clark, Group President and CEO, TD Bank Group, and Bharat B. Masrani, Chief Operating Officer, TD Bank Group, are not considered to be “independent” under the policy or the CSA Guidelines and are “affiliated” under the Bank Act. Mr. Clark has announced his intention to retire as Group President and CEO effective November 1, 2014, and the board of directors has announced its intention that Mr. Masrani will become Group President and CEO, TD Bank Group on November 1, 2014.
The board adopted the Director Independence Policy and delegated responsibility to the corporate governance committee for:
- recommending to the board independence criteria for directors;
- reviewing the policy annually, including as to the continued appropriateness of the director independence criteria; and
- evaluating the independence of directors annually, and as needed for director appointments during the year.
How we determine independence
Directors must complete detailed questionnaires each year about their individual circumstances. Directors who have a material relationship with the bank, and management directors, are not considered independent under the Director Independence Policy. To determine if a director has a material relationship with the bank, the corporate governance committee looks at the nature and importance of the director’s bank connections. Relationships through outsourcing, consulting, legal, accounting and financial services are particularly scrutinized. The committee also takes into account people or organizations the director is related to, such as a spouse or an employer where the director is an executive. The committee then considers whether the director could reasonably be expected to be objective about management’s recommendations and performance. The goal is that a large majority of directors will be independent.
While not required to do so, the corporate governance committee also considers the director independence standards that apply only to NYSE-listed U.S. domestic issuers. Except for Messrs. Clark and Masrani, all director nominees would be considered independent under these NYSE standards if they applied to the bank.
In addition to the Director Independence Policy, the board has implemented the following policies and practices:
- The board and each committee can meet independently of management at any time. Time to do so is provided on each board and committee meeting agenda. During fiscal 2013, 48 in-camera sessions were held.
- The board and each committee may engage their own independent advisors.
- The non-management directors must annually appoint a strong, independent chairman of the board with a clear mandate to provide leadership for the independent directors.
- The non-management directors must acquire, over a set period of time, equity ownership with a value equivalent to at least six times their respective annual cash retainer.
Board members are expected to understand that independence also means preparation for meetings, understanding the issues, strength of character, integrity and an inquiring mind.
The bank has a robust process to annually evaluate director independence. Although the board does not set a formal limit on the number of interlocking board and committee memberships that directors may have, the corporate governance committee reviews them as part of its annual evaluation of director independence. The committee does not believe that the interlocking board memberships among our directors, as set out below, impact the ability of those directors to act in the bank’s best interests or their independence.
The following table sets out interlocking board memberships of the bank’s director nominees:
Brian M. Levitt
Harold H. MacKay
As noted in the “Director Nominees” section of this circular, Mr. Hugh J. Bolton will not be standing for re-election at the meeting. Interlocking board memberships exist between Mr. Bolton and Mr. William E. Bennett, both of whom are currently directors of Capital Power Corporation, and between Mr. Bolton and Ms. Helen K. Sinclair, both of whom are currently directors of EPCOR Utilities Inc.
Chairman of the Board
Our chairman of the board is Brian M. Levitt. Mr. Levitt has been the chairman since January 1, 2011. For more information on Mr. Levitt, please see the “Director Nominees” section of this circular or our website at www.td.com/governance/chair.jsp.
The chairman of the board’s role is to facilitate the functioning of the board independently of management and to maintain and enhance the quality of our corporate governance. The chairman’s key responsibilities are set out in the charter of the chairman of the board, which is available on our website at www.td.com/governance/charters.jsp. The chairman must be independent and, as stated above, is appointed by the non-management directors of the board annually. The chairman chairs every meeting of the board (including the in-camera sessions) and the corporate governance committee, chairs the annual meeting of shareholders, and serves as a member of the HRC. In fulfilling his responsibilities in 2013, the chairman regularly met with other directors and senior management to monitor the health of relationships between the board and senior management and among directors, and the implementation of the CEO succession plan. The chairman maintains a channel of open communication with regulators, independent of management, to engender trust and confidence in the quality of the board’s governance and oversight of the bank. In 2013, the chairman met, both alone and with the committee chairs, 10 times with representatives of the bank’s regulators in Canada and the U.S. Since the 2008 financial crisis, this has become an industry-wide phenomenon. The chairman’s and committee chairs’ involvement includes preparation as well as attendance and spans all of the bank’s various businesses and the jurisdictions in which they are carried out. Further details about the workload and responsibilities of the bank’s directors are included in the “Director Compensation” section of this circular.
The chairman of the board chairs and is available to answer questions at our annual shareholders’ meetings. Directors are expected to attend annual shareholders’ meetings where possible. Last year, all of the directors then standing for election attended the annual meeting in Ottawa.
The board’s responsibility is to enhance the bank’s long-term value for our shareholders. Our employees and officers execute the bank’s strategy under the direction of the CEO and the oversight of the board of directors. Shareholders elect the board to oversee management and assure that the long-term interests of shareholders are advanced responsibly. This includes addressing the concerns where appropriate of other stakeholders and interested parties, including employees, customers, regulators, our communities and the public. The board’s responsibilities are set out in its charter and include the following:
- Supervision of the management of the business and affairs of the bank.
- Disclosure of reliable and timely information to shareholders - shareholders depend on the board to get them the right information.
- Approval of our strategy and major policy decisions - the board must understand and approve where we are going, be kept current on our progress towards those objectives and be part of and approve any major decisions.
- Evaluation, compensation and succession for key management roles - the board must be satisfied that we have the right people in the key roles, that they are monitored and evaluated by the board, and that they are appropriately compensated to encourage the bank’s long-term success.
- Oversight of the management of capital, liquidity, risks and the implementation of internal controls - the board must be satisfied that we have sufficient capital and liquidity, that our assets are protected, and that our risk culture, compensation policies and practices and control functions are such that the bank is operated within the confines of its board approved risk appetite.
- Effective board governance - to excel in their duties, the directors need to function properly as a board (i.e., have strong members with the right skills and the right information).
The board’s charter is incorporated by reference into this circular and has been filed with securities regulators on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and EDGAR at www.sec.gov and, as stated above, is available on our website at www.td.com/governance/charters.jsp. In addition, shareholders may promptly obtain a free copy of the board’s charter by contacting TD Shareholder Relations (contact information is provided on page 77 of this circular).
The Bank Act requires certain important matters to be brought before the board. The board has also chosen to reserve certain other key decisions to itself. Under its charter, the board has an obligation to oversee the sufficiency of the checks and balances on management. To that end, the board has established approval criteria for management for the extension of new credit, investment decisions for our securities portfolios, capital spending, operational risk, executive compensation, trading/market risk, and issuing bank securities. The board has also put in place formal policies for approving material business acquisitions, investments and divestitures and for approving major outsourcing projects. In addition, the board has complete authority over the approval of certain other transactions out of the ordinary course of business and approving financial statements prior to release to shareholders.
Highlights of the board’s key accomplishments in fiscal 2013 can be found in the “Corporate Governance” section of this circular.
The board is responsible for overseeing the execution and fulfillment of our strategy and fundamental goals. This responsibility includes regularly considering, reviewing with management and, if appropriate, approving strategic alternatives and plans presented by management to ensure they are in line with the board-approved strategic plan for the bank. The board assesses the bank’s major opportunities and the risk impact of any strategic decision being contemplated, such as considering whether any strategic decision is within the bank’s approved enterprise risk appetite, including for individual business units, oversees the implementation of strategic plans, and monitors performance against such plans. In addition to reviewing and discussing strategy at regular board meetings, the board annually participates in a two-day offsite strategy session. The board also reviews and approves all major strategy and policy recommendations including the bank’s long-term strategic plan, the annual financial plan (including the capital and liquidity plans), and specific requests for major capital expenditures.
The board is responsible for overseeing the appropriate policies and procedures are in place to protect the assets of the bank and assure its viable future. The board is also responsible for overseeing the identification and monitoring of the principal risks affecting the bank’s business, and satisfying itself that appropriate policies, procedures and practices are in place for the effective management of these risks under the bank’s enterprise risk framework and in accordance with the bank’s risk culture. The board is aided in this responsibility by the risk committee which, among other responsibilities, reviews and recommends the bank’s risk appetite statement and related metrics for approval by the full board, identifies and monitors the key risks of the bank, and evaluates how they are managed. In addition, the board oversees the bank’s crisis management recovery and resolution plans as required by applicable regulatory requirements. See the “Managing Risk” section of the bank’s 2013 MD&A for a list of the major risk types identified and the structures and processes in place to manage them.
The board oversees the bank’s capital adequacy and management, including by reviewing and approving the Global Capital Management Policy annually, as well as the capital limits and targets therein. As part of this responsibility, the board is also responsible for declaring dividends and approving the issuances, redemptions or repurchases of all capital, if appropriate and permitted by applicable law.
The corporate governance committee reviews and assesses the bank’s corporate responsibility strategy and reporting. For a description of our approach to corporate responsibility, read our most recent Corporate Responsibility Report, which is available on our website at www.td.com/corporateresponsibility.
The board and the HRC are responsible for CEO succession planning and talent development and for satisfying themselves that succession planning is in place for all other key executive roles. This includes identifying potential succession candidates for the
role of CEO, satisfying themselves that the senior leadership team is identifying potential succession candidates for other key executive roles, and monitoring development plans for those identified, as well as fostering management depth by rigorously assessing candidates for other senior positions.
The corporate governance committee’s responsibilities include satisfying itself that we communicate effectively, both proactively and responsively, with our shareholders, other interested parties and the public. Our commitment to providing timely, accurate and balanced disclosure of all material information to a broad audience is laid out in our Disclosure Policy. The corporate governance committee annually reviews this policy and receives a report from management, including members of the disclosure committee, on the Disclosure Policy, the design and operation of related disclosure controls, and procedures and any disclosure issues that may have arisen in the past year. A copy of the policy is available on our website at www.td.com/governance/other_policies.jsp.
The board or a committee of the board oversees communications with shareholders and other stakeholders. This includes reviewing and/or approving key disclosure documents such as the quarterly and annual financial statements, the annual report, the annual information form, and the management proxy circular. The corporate governance committee receives an annual report on shareholder feedback on an enterprise-wide basis from management, with a primary focus on retail shareholders.
Measures for Receiving Stakeholder Feedback
Shareholders provide feedback to the bank through a number of avenues, including via e-mail, telephone and mail and at events (such as the annual meeting and investor events involving TD Investor Relations). The bank also receives feedback through meetings with shareholders, including those with interests in the bank’s executive compensation and corporate social responsibility. Shareholders may communicate directly with the independent directors through the chairman of the board (contact details are provided on page 77 of this circular). Contact details for TD Shareholder Relations are provided on page 77 of this circular. For additional information, please visit the bank’s website at www.td.com/investor-relations/ir-homepage/contact.jsp.
Each year, shareholders may vote for or against a non-binding, advisory resolution on the approach to executive compensation disclosed in the “Report of the Human Resources Committee” and “Approach to Compensation” sections of this circular. As this is an advisory vote, the resolution is non-binding. However, the HRC and board are committed to proactive, open and responsive communications with shareholders and will take the results of the vote into account, as they consider appropriate, when considering future compensation policies, procedures and decisions.
In addition, the bank’s whistleblower program provides an open and effective communication channel for employees and members of the public worldwide to report complaints regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters and other ethical, legal or regulatory matters. The whistleblower program strives to ensure that individuals feel comfortable and secure and have no fear of reprisal when reporting complaints, in good faith, which they reasonably believe to be valid. The bank accepts anonymous reports except where they are prohibited by law. The audit committee monitors reports regarding accounting, internal accounting controls and auditing matters. A description of the program is available on our website at www.td.com/governance/whistleblower.jsp.
Management and the corporate governance committee also carefully review shareholder proposals and feedback and communications from recognized governance groups in Canada and provide regular opportunities for shareholders to communicate with management and the board. All these inputs help the board understand how we are doing and guide future governance innovations.
The board is responsible for overseeing the bank’s internal controls and management information systems and monitoring their integrity and effectiveness. The board is also responsible for overseeing adherence to applicable audit, compliance , regulatory, accounting and reporting requirements. Through this process the board must satisfy itself that the bank’s financial reporting and financial control systems are operating appropriately. Management’s report on internal control over financial reporting and related information is available under the heading “Accounting Standards and Policies - Controls and Procedures” in the bank’s 2013 MD&A.
Developing the Bank’s Approach to Corporate Governance
The board believes our success is based on a culture of integrity which starts with the principle of the “tone at the top”. As set out in its charter, the board is responsible for setting the tone for a culture of integrity and compliance throughout the bank. The board expects the highest level of personal and professional integrity from our CEO and other executive officers. The board also monitors the effectiveness of our corporate governance practices and approves any necessary changes, as required. The corporate governance committee keeps abreast of the latest regulatory requirements, trends and guidance in corporate governance and updates the board on corporate governance issues, as necessary. The framework for governance at the bank is based on Corporate Governance Guidelines recommended by the corporate governance committee together with the charters and key practices of the board and its committees.
The corporate governance committee annually reviews a written position description for directors and charters for the chairman of the board and for the chairs of the board committees that the board has approved, and recommends amendments if required. These documents are available on our website at www.td.com/governance/charters.jsp.
The HRC has developed a written position description for the CEO which it reviews and approves annually. The committee also annually reviews the CEO’s corporate goals and objectives which include performance indicators and key milestones relevant to the CEO’s compensation. The board approves such goals and objectives on the committee’s recommendation. In addition, the HRC reviews mandates for all senior leadership roles (rank of or equivalent to group head or higher and other key positions as determined from time to time).
Orientation and Continuing Education
The corporate governance committee oversees the implementation and monitors the effectiveness of an orientation program for new directors. Our program is comprised of four components: education sessions; meeting with the respective committee chair; orientation reference materials; and assignment of a “buddy”, each as described below.
At the comprehensive education sessions, the CEO and other members of the executive management team present and answer questions on how the bank is managed, our business and control functions, strategic direction, capital management, finance, human resources, information technology, regulatory environment, directors’ responsibilities, and the significant issues and key risks we face. The program also offers the opportunity for new directors to meet with the CEO and chairman of the board. Committee chairs also meet with any new director appointed to serve on the committee as part of his or her overall orientation session. All new directors receive a director’s orientation manual that is tailored to the individual director’s needs and areas of interest, taking into consideration which committee(s) the director is joining. Director orientation reference materials include, among other things:
- our key corporate governance and public disclosure documents, including our Corporate Governance Guidelines and board and committee charters;
- information regarding the evaluation process for the board, its committees and their chairs, and individual directors;
- minutes for the previous year’s board meetings;
- minutes for the previous year’s committee meetings for the committee(s) which the director is joining;
- important policies and procedures for the bank, including our Disclosure Policy and the Code of Conduct and Ethics (Code); and
- organizational charts and other business orientation materials, including financial statements and regulatory information.
In addition, new directors are assigned a “buddy” director for the director’s first few meetings to answer questions and provide contextual information to better understand materials, presentations and processes. New directors are also offered an opportunity to visit various sites (e.g., retail branch, operations centre, trading floor).
The corporate governance committee oversees continuing education for directors and is a resource for ongoing education about directors’ duties and responsibilities. It satisfies itself that prospective candidates fully understand the role of the board and its committees and the contribution expected of individual directors. Additional details can be found under the heading “Continuing Education of Directors” in the “Director Nominees” section of this circular.
Ethical Business Conduct
As a responsible business enterprise and corporate citizen, we are committed to conducting our affairs to the highest standards of ethics, integrity, honesty, fairness, and professionalism at all times. While reaching our business goals is critical to our success, equally important is the way we achieve them. There are a number of policies and procedures in place, including the Code and the Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy, which encourage and promote a culture of ethical business conduct at the bank.
The board and its committees oversee the culture of integrity or “tone at the top” established throughout the bank, including compliance with our policies and procedures for ethical personal and business conduct. The corporate governance committee receives a periodic report from management discussing the various policies and structures that support this important oversight function.
Code of Conduct and Ethics
Our Code applies at all levels of the organization, from major decisions made by the board, to day-to-day business transactions. The Code has been filed with securities regulators on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and EDGAR at www.sec.gov . Any shareholder may obtain a copy from our website at www.td.com/document/PDF/governance/td-governance-code-ethics.pdf or by contacting TD Shareholder Relations via contact details on page 77 of this circular.
The Code establishes the standards that govern the way directors and employees deal with each other, our shareholders, customers, suppliers, competitors and communities. Within this framework, directors and employees are expected to exercise good judgment and be accountable for their actions. Compliance with the Code is part of the terms and conditions of employment of every employee with the bank. All directors and employees are required to review and attest to compliance with the Code annually.
The corporate governance committee annually reviews the Code and the audit committee oversees monitoring compliance with the Code. Compliance with the Code is monitored by management and material issues arising under the Code are reported to the audit committee by the Human Resources Department. An annual report is submitted by the Head of Human Resources to the audit committee on the attestation process confirming compliance with the Code. Various internal contacts are outlined in the Code under “Reporting Violations” and employees are encouraged to report any suspected violations of the Code. Employees who may be uncomfortable using these internal channels can use the TD Whistleblower Hotline as described under “Measures for Receiving Stakeholder Feedback” above in this Schedule B. The audit committee is responsible for overseeing that concerns or complaints relating to accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters are resolved in a satisfactory manner.
Insider Trading Policies
Safeguards are in place to monitor personal trading of executive officers and other officers and employees in key positions for insider trading. This monitoring is conducted by trained and experienced compliance officers who have access to records of the bank trading accounts in which these individuals hold securities. All executives are required to disclose all trading accounts, including joint accounts, to the bank and ensure that all such accounts are maintained in-house. In addition, certain officers (including the named executive officers listed in the Summary Compensation Table under the “2013 Performance and Compensation” section of this circular) are required to pre-clear any securities trade with the Compliance Department. Trading in bank securities is restricted during “closed window periods” that span the period when our financial results are being compiled but have not yet been released to the public. Reporting insiders, as required by law, must file insider reports via the internet-based System for Electronic Disclosure by Insiders (SEDI). Named executive officers must also pre-disclose to the public, by way of a press release, any intention to trade in our common shares, including the exercise of options, no less than five business days in advance of the date of the transaction. Named executive officers must also disclose to the public the establishment of an automatic disposition plan covering common shares and stock options.
Director Conflict of Interest
Directors may not be eligible to stand for election if they have a potential or actual conflict of interest that is incompatible with service as a director. An example is a material interest in an entity that competes directly with a core activity of the bank. Directors are required to provide the bank with complete information on all entities in which they have a material interest so that any conflicts they may have regarding these entities can be identified. In addition, directors complete an annual questionnaire that includes questions on material interests with the bank.
It is the responsibility of a director to submit a report to the corporate governance committee whenever there is a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest between him or her and the bank, and the committee may obtain additional information where it deems appropriate. The committee will determine an appropriate course of action for the director, always with a view to the best interests of the bank. Where a director’s conflict of interest is manageable (for example, by the director being absent for certain deliberations of the board), the director may be eligible for election and the corporate governance committee will monitor the conflict. Should a conflict become incompatible with service as a director, the director must offer his or her resignation.
Nomination of Directors
Each year the board recommends director nominees to shareholders, who can vote on each director nominee at the annual meeting. Director nominees are recommended to the board by the corporate governance committee, which is composed entirely of independent directors. The corporate governance committee continually examines the size and composition of the board by considering factors such as the skills, experience, professional and industry representation, as well as factors that promote diversity on the board, including by age, geography, gender, members of visible minority groups and persons with disabilities. The bank believes that fostering a diverse and inclusive culture both within the bank and at the level of the board represents a strategic business priority for the bank and contributes to its continued commitment to sound corporate governance, market innovation and growth. The board recognizes its own performance in this regard impacts the perceptions of the bank’s employees, shareholders and customers in terms of its commitment and progress in fostering diversity and inclusion.
The board satisfies itself that the directors of the bank, taken as a whole, have the skill and experience competencies most relevant in light of the opportunities and risks facing the bank. The board strives to be constituted to achieve a balance between expertise (including financial industry and risk management expertise), skills, experience and learning, on the one hand, and the need for renewal and fresh perspectives on the other hand, taking into consideration the bank’s strategy, risk profile and overall operations. The board selects director candidates who will be able to satisfactorily represent the bank domestically and internationally where we carry on business, and who have a broad spectrum of educational backgrounds, expertise and achievements. Additionally, the composition of the board must meet Bank Act residence and affiliation requirements and all directors must meet the qualifications for directors set out in the Position Description for Directors which is available on our website at www.td.com/governance/charters.jsp. The corporate governance committee determines the skills, qualities and backgrounds the board needs to fulfill its many responsibilities and mandates with a view to diverse representation on the board. It monitors board and committee composition and regularly reviews succession plans for the board, chairman of the board, and committee chairs while keeping future director recruitment needs in mind. This committee also regularly assesses existing directors’ skill and experience competencies in light of the opportunities and risks facing the bank. It seeks candidates to fill any gaps in the competencies of board members, while also considering candidate attributes and perspectives, and rigorously assesses a candidate’s ability to make a valuable contribution to the board.
With a view to recruiting needs, the corporate governance committee uses a skills/experience matrix as a tool to identify any gaps in the competencies considered most relevant to the needs of the board, being:
- Senior Executive/Strategic Leadership
- Financial Services
- Risk Management
- Talent Management & Executive Compensation
- Capital Markets/Treasury
- Corporate Responsibility
- Government/Public Affairs
- Marketing/Brand Awareness
- Other Board Experience
Directors annually self-assess their skills and experiences against these competencies. Key areas of expertise/experience for each director nominee are listed in the charts under the “Director Nominees” section of this circular. The committee reviews the matrix annually to confirm that it continues to reflect the most relevant skill and experience competencies.
The corporate governance committee also considers whether each new nominee can devote sufficient time and resources to his or her duties as a board member. Directors must be committed to diligent attendance at board and committee meetings, and to full preparation for and participation in such meetings. If a director attends fewer than 75% of board and committee meetings, the corporate governance committee will inquire into the situation and take steps to work with the director to improve attendance. Attendance is also taken into consideration in the nomination process. While we do not restrict the number of public company boards that a director may serve on, each director must devote sufficient time to carrying out his or her duties effectively. Each director also commits to serve on the board for an extended period of time, if elected. No member of the audit committee may serve on more than three public company audit committees without the consent of the corporate governance committee and the board. No such consents have been required for any director nominee standing for election at the meeting.
The board is required to have a minimum of 12 directors. The corporate governance committee recommends the exact size of the board which is then set by directors’ resolution before each annual shareholders’ meeting. The board size may be changed by the board from time to time between annual meetings. In considering board size, the board balances the competing goals of keeping the board size small enough for effective discussions yet offering adequate representation to meet the demands of board and committee work in the context of our business and operating environment.
The nominees identified in the “Director Nominees” section of this circular were recommended to the board by the corporate governance committee. The committee also recommends candidates to fill any positions on the board that may arise between annual meetings.
The corporate governance committee identifies possible candidates to join the board. In so doing, it may invite suggestions from other directors and management, and on occasion it may engage independent consultants to help in this task. The chair leads the process and the CEO and Chief Operating Officer are included with a number of directors in any interview process that may take place. The corporate governance committee regularly looks at potential candidates even when it does not have an immediate vacancy.
Retirement Age and Term Limits
The board believes it should reflect a balance between expertise, skills, experience and learning on the one hand, and the need for renewal and fresh perspectives on the other. On the recommendation of the corporate governance committee, the board approved changes to its tenure policy to simplify the term limits provisions. Directors are expected to serve up to a maximum of 10 years, assuming they receive solid annual performance assessments, are annually re-elected by the shareholders, and meet the other requirements of our Corporate Governance Guidelines. On the corporate governance committee’s recommendation, the board may extend a director’s initial 10-year term limit for up to five additional years, for a total term limit of 15 years. In exceptional circumstances, the board may extend the maximum term of a director for up to five additional years. For current directors, term limits started from September 23, 2004, when the 10-year term limit was first introduced, or their respective first election/appointment date, whichever came later. In all cases, no director will serve beyond the annual shareholders’ meeting following his or her 75th birthday.
Majority Voting Policy
If a nominee in an uncontested election receives a greater number of shares withheld than shares voted in favour of his or her election, he or she must promptly tender his or her resignation to the chairman of the board. The resignation takes effect as soon as the board accepts it. The corporate governance committee quickly considers the director’s offer to resign and recommends whether the board should accept it. Before making its recommendation, the corporate governance committee evaluates the best interests of the bank and its shareholders and considers a number of factors including: cures for the underlying cause of the withheld votes; the skills and attributes of the director and the overall mix of skills and attributes of the board; and whether accepting the resignation would cause the bank to fail to meet any applicable listing or regulatory requirement. The board has 90 days to make a final decision and announce it through a news release. The director does not participate in any committee or board deliberations on the resignation offer.
The corporate governance committee, which is composed entirely of independent directors, reviews director compensation to satisfy itself that it is competitive in the marketplace and aligns directors’ and shareholders’ interests. The board determines the adequacy and form of director compensation based on the corporate governance committee’s recommendation. Further information on director compensation can be found in the “Director Compensation” section of this circular.
The HRC, also composed entirely of independent directors, oversees our executive compensation program. The objective of the bank’s compensation strategy is to attract, retain and motivate high performing executives to create sustainable value for shareholders over the long term. To achieve this objective, the executive compensation program is designed based on the principles outlined below and described more fully in the “Approach to Compensation” section of this circular:
- align with the bank’s business and talent strategy
- effective risk management
- align to shareholder interests
- good corporate governance
- pay for performance
- pay competitively
The HRC, in consultation with the committee’s independent advisor (Frederic W. Cook & Co., Inc.), reviews and approves (or recommends to the board for approval) the salary, annual cash incentive, and equity compensation awards for certain executive officers. These include the named executive officers listed in the Summary Compensation Table under the “2013 Performance Compensation” section of this circular, members of the senior executive team, heads of oversight functions, and the 50 highest paid employees across the organization. The committee also approves aggregate compensation awards under all executive compensation and equity plans including the Performance Compensation Plan for TD Securities employees, and has oversight for all material employee compensation plans. The committee reviews the executive compensation disclosure in this circular before the board approves it and makes it public. To support our objective of striving to be a market leader on governance issues, we have adopted certain policies and processes that align with the following best practices:
- formal processes to ensure risk is appropriately considered in compensation plans;
- at year end, the chief risk officer presents an enterprise risk scorecard to the risk and human resources committees to allow for appropriate consideration of risk when determining the amount of compensation to be awarded and if any adjustments to maturing deferred compensation are appropriate;
- any changes to the plan design for material compensation plans must be reviewed and endorsed by the chief risk officer to make sure that the design does not create an incentive for risk taking beyond the bank’s risk appetite;
- all bank executives and all TD Securities employees are evaluated on governance, control, and risk management behaviours as part of the annual performance assessment process. Results from this assessment are considered when year-end performance and compensation decisions are made;
- the HRC has the discretion to reduce annual incentive awards (including cash and equity based incentives) to zero under all executive plans;
- the HRC has the discretion to reduce or cancel unvested deferred compensation;
- a claw back feature has been introduced in all executive compensation plans;
- for all executives, a significant portion of compensation is awarded as equity which vests after a minimum of three years; and
- share ownership requirements for executives are among the highest in the market, and include post retirement holding requirements for the most senior executives.
Information on the committee’s independent advisor can be found in the “Independent Advisors” section of this circular.
The board annually assesses the CEO’s performance against pre-defined goals and objectives. In consultation with the committee’s independent advisor, the HRC then recommends the CEO’s total salary, annual cash incentive and equity compensation to the board for approval. The CEO’s evaluation includes an assessment of his personal integrity as well as the culture of integrity he and other executive officers have established throughout the bank. For a detailed analysis of the CEO’s compensation in 2013, see the “CEO Compensation” section of this circular.
Other Board Committees
The board has the following four committees: audit; corporate governance; risk; and human resources. More information on these committees can be found in the “Corporate Governance” section of this circular. All committee members are “independent” directors under the Director Independence Policy and CSA Guidelines.
The charter of each of the board’s four committees sets out composition requirements. The corporate governance committee recommends the composition of each committee. Each independent director should serve on at least one committee each year. The board approves the composition of committees and can remove members in accordance with applicable rules and regulations, and any other relevant considerations. In determining appropriate membership on committees, the corporate governance committee tries to strike a balance between having members with adequate experience and expertise on the committee and rotating membership to bring in new ideas and insights. Each committee may conduct all or part of any meeting in the absence of management. As stated earlier, each committee includes such sessions on its meeting agendas. For example, the audit committee meets separately with each of the CEO, chief financial officer, chief auditor, chief compliance officer, global anti-money laundering officer and the shareholders’ auditor and on its own at each of its regularly scheduled quarterly meetings. Each committee also may engage independent advisors, paid for by the bank, to provide expert advice.
Each year the committees review their charters to satisfy themselves that they meet or exceed regulatory and shareholder expectations and are operating effectively. The corporate governance committee reviews changes which are then approved by the board. Each committee establishes annual objectives or key goals as a focus for its core responsibilities and activities, and to help prioritize the committee’s time and effort throughout the year. The committees measure progress against their objectives throughout the year. The charter for each committee is available on our website at www.td.com/governance/charters.jsp.
The board annually evaluates the effectiveness of the board and its chairman, its committees and their chairs, individual directors, and the CEO. The corporate governance committee is responsible for establishing an effective process and works with an independent consultant to design the feedback surveys. The evaluation of individual directors involves a self-evaluation and peer review. The corporate governance committee, working with the consultant, facilitates annual feedback to the board. The board’s approach to feedback is meant to be constructive and to see that the right programs are in place for continuously improving directors’ individual skills and the board’s and its committees’ functioning and effectiveness.
Board and Individual Director Feedback
Directors complete a comprehensive annual feedback survey on board effectiveness and performance. Among other matters, directors are asked to consider what the board could do differently, and what the board’s priorities in the coming year should be. As well, directors provide feedback on the execution of the bank’s strategy, oversight of the risk appetite and overall effectiveness of communications between the board and senior management.
Individual director’s responses are submitted to the independent consultant on a confidential basis. The consultant consolidates the results and reviews them with the chairman of the board to identify key themes and possible actions. The chairman of the board also has one-on-one discussions with each director. He first meets with each director to obtain feedback about the performance and any development needs of the board, its committees, or peer directors, and self-assessment input, and then subsequently to provide his or her individual feedback.
The chairman of the board leads a preliminary discussion with the corporate governance committee to review the feedback report and propose board priorities to address any development opportunities highlighted by the survey results. He then leads a discussion of the results and the proposed board priorities with the board, including whether any changes to the structure or composition of the board or its committees may be appropriate. These board priorities are then approved by the board. The corporate governance committee monitors the implementation of the action plans addressing these board priorities throughout the year. Input from the feedback process is also taken into account when considering the director nominees to be recommended to shareholders.
Committee and Committee Chair Feedback
A separate process is undertaken to obtain feedback from directors on the effectiveness and operations of the committees on which they sit and of the chairs of those committees. Each committee holds an effectiveness self-assessment session to share views and sets objectives to respond to any development opportunities identified in the discussions. Each committee chair then reviews the results and approved objectives with the board. Each committee monitors its activities to address these objectives throughout the year. The corporate governance committee also monitors how well other committees implement action plans against their objectives throughout the year to see that they are appropriately addressed. It identifies any recurring themes across committees to be dealt with at a governance level.
Also, the corporate governance committee oversees the continued improvement in board and committee processes for agenda time management, advance materials, and presentations.
Chairman of the Board Feedback
As part of the annual survey, directors are asked to assess and comment on the chairman of the board’s performance. The independent consultant consolidates individual responses. The chair of the HRC leads an in camera discussion with the board (with the chairman absent), and subsequently meets with the chairman of the board to provide feedback and develop objectives for the coming year. These objectives are reviewed with and approved by the board.
Chief Executive Officer Assessment
The annual survey also asks directors to assess and comment on the CEO’s performance. Again, the independent consultant consolidates the responses. The chairman of the board, together with the chair of the HRC, leads an in camera discussion of the results with the HRC and then with the board (with the CEO absent). Subsequently, the chairman of the board and the chair of the HRC together meet with the CEO to provide feedback.
360 - Feedback by Management
In the case of the assessment of the board, the chairman of the board and the CEO, senior executive management team members are asked to complete the survey (on a confidential basis) to provide candid feedback as part of the process. In the case of committee self-assessments and the assessment of the respective committee chairs, the senior executive supporting each committee is invited to participate in a portion of the session. This feedback is consolidated and incorporated in the various feedback reports.