The coronavirus pandemic has stress-tested companies around the globe. As the world's largest shareholder, we have seen this at close hand. In all, we held 2,877 meetings with companies in 2020. We also voted on 121,619 resolutions at shareholder meetings and began to publish an explanation whenever voting against the board's recommendation.
The outbreak and spread of the corona-virus had a dramatic impact on the markets in the first quarter, followed by a rapid recovery in the second. The year saw high levels of volatility and considerable variations between sectors. Although global economic growth was hit hard, the fund’s equity investments returned 12.1 percent. Our technology stocks made a particularly strong contribution, returning no less than 41.9 percent.
We have published expectations of how companies in our portfolio should address global challenges in their operations since 2008. These expectations largely coincide with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Our voting guidelines provide a principled basis for our voting decisions. We also publish position papers which set out our views on specific topics and serve as a starting point for discussion with companies and standard setters. With some issues that we consider particularly important, we may publish our voting intentions ahead of a company’s shareholder meeting.
Our analyses are informed by our research and experience as a large, long-term investment manager. The Discussion Note series provides a basis for our investment strategy and advice to the fund’s owner. The Asset Manager Perspective series presents our views on topics relevant to the financial sector. The perspectives are not intended to be definitive but to provide useful input for all market participants.
The Government Pension Fund Global is a large, global investment fund with a long-term investment horizon. Our management of the fund shall safeguard and build financial wealth for future generations.