BlackRock stands by climate priorities, sees tougher shareholder votes – Reuters

Michelle Edkins, BlackRock’s (BLK.N) global head of investment stewardship, said in an interview on Tuesday that the pandemic is consuming corporate attention but indicated that BlackRock will not cut company directors slack as it decides whether to back their re-election. BlackRock will continue to judge whether boards have made progress against goals BlackRock has touted…

BlackRock’s Vow for Greener Planet to Get First Real-World Test – Bloomberg

Fink, who built the company from a mortgage-bond specialist into the largest asset manager in the world, has a crew of just a few dozen to prod the thousands of companies in BlackRock’s $7 trillion of funds to toe a more environmentally friendly line. With the annual proxy season set to kick off in earnest next month, when shareholders get…

The Hidden Dangers of the Great Index Fund Takeover – Bloomberg

We have repeatedly warned about the problem of index funds, including VEA Chair Robert A.G. Monks’ book Citizens Disunited, with extensive data on “drone” companies (with stock ownership tracking the index) and VEA Vice Chair Nell Minow was one of the judges who selected Index Funds and the Future of Corporate Governance: Theory, Evidence and…

Blackrock’s Larry Fink: Letter to CEOs

Blackrock’s Larry Fink wrote to the portfolio company CEOs to tell them that investors insist on more from them when it comes to climate change, from disclosure to strategy. Bottom line (literally): “Climate risk is investment risk.” Here is the letter: Dear CEO, As an asset manager, BlackRock invests on behalf of others, and I…

BlackRock’s Larry Fink: Climate change risk worse than Great Recession

BlackRock Chairman and CEO Larry Fink is warning that the financial risks of climate change are bigger than any crisis he’s experienced in his career on Wall Street. “We don’t have a Federal Reserve to stabilize the world like in the five or six financial crises that occurred during my 40 years in finance,” the…

BlackRock Joins World’s Largest Investor Group on Climate Change – WSJ

BlackRock Inc. said Thursday that it has joined Climate Action 100+, the world’s largest group of investors by assets pressuring companies to act on climate change, following criticism that the money manager hasn’t done enough to move the needle. “We believe evidence of the impact of climate risk on investment portfolios is building rapidly and…

Want a Bigger Say on Corporate Behavior? Move Your Money – The New York Times

From our former colleague Jackie Cook — index fund voting patterns may be an unhappy surprise to their investors. [W]hile index funds offered by different companies were often nearly indistinguishable in fees and performance, the voting behavior of the funds was very different. Vanguard and BlackRock, the two biggest fund managers, tended to side with…

Big Fund Managers Ripped for Opposing Political Cash Disclosures – Bloomberg

BlackRock Inc., Vanguard Group Inc. and Fidelity Investments are being drawn into a fight over political spending with a top Securities and Exchange Commission official rebuking the fund managers for failing to push corporations to disclose their campaign contributions. As managers of trillions of dollars, BlackRock, Vanguard and Fidelity are among the biggest investors in…

Activists thought BlackRock, Vanguard were climate allies. Not now

In 2017, the two biggest U.S.-based fund managers, BlackRock and Vanguard — which control a combined $12 trillion in assets — both voted to require Exxon Mobil to produce a report on climate change. It was a seen as watershed moment showing what can occur when the biggest index funds punch their weight at the…

Rise of Index ETFs Could Result in Complacent Corporate Governance | ETF Trends

Echoing (or catching up to) the findings of VEA Chair Bob Monks in his book Citizens Disunited, this reflects increasing concerns about “drone” investors. As more money flows into index-based stock mutual funds and ETFs, there may be less actively involved shareholders willing to push for changes during shareholder meetings. Index funds now account for…