BlackRock’s Move to Open Up Proxy Voting to Clients Removes a Giant Rubber Stamp
Large investors in BlackRock’s index funds will now be able to vote on shareholder resolutions themselves.
BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, agreed to give big investors the ability to vote on shareholder proposals, which by some estimates would transfer votes to investors representing as much as $1.5 trillion in indexed assets.
In the past, BlackRock and other passive fund managers, such as State Street and Vanguard, which have dominated the market, have been widely criticized for regularly voting with management on shareholder proposals. For example, BlackRock cast votes with management 96% of the time on so-called say-on-pay votes regarding compensation packages for named officers at S&P 500 companies, according to Morningstar research.