Investment Giants BlackRock and Vanguard Fail to Live Up to Climate Commitments by Voting Against Shareholder Resolutions — As You Sow

Corporate governance nonprofit Majority Action released today its report analyzing asset managers’ 2019 voting records on climate-related shareholder proposals and CEO pay at energy and utility companies. The report finds that influential firms like BlackRock and Vanguard repeatedly voted with corporate management in opposing climate risk mitigation proposals. In fact, BlackRock and Vanguard voted against…

Board independence revealed as key issue for investors in 2020

Two interesting things about this. First is the increased interest in independent board chairs in Europe. And the second is that for the umpteenth time we again see that ISS follows the customers at least as often as the other way around. The independence of company chairs in Europe could figure heavily in the deliberations…

Big US sustainable funds fail to support ESG shareholder proposals | Financial Times

Big US fund managers that have promoted their credentials in tackling sustainability issues have done little to support environmental and social shareholder proposals, their voting records reveal. During the 2019 shareholder voting season, funds labelled by BlackRock, JPMorgan Asset Management and Vanguard as sustainable frequently sided with a company’s management and against shareholder proposals on…

SEC Investor Advisory Committee Recommendations on Proxy Plumbing

The SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee, established under Section 911 of Dodd-Frank (membership listed below), has submitted recommendations on improving the byzantine and jury-rigged proxy plumbing system. Their summary:  The SEC should require end-to-end vote confirmations to end-users of the proxy system, potentially commencing with a pilot involving the largest companies;  The SEC should…

Why Isn’t Your Mutual Fund Sticking Up for You?

Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo E. Strine Jr. and Harvard Kennedy School professor Antonio Weiss want mutual funds to consider the same long-term issues raised in the BRT stakeholder statement: Growing inequality and stagnant wages are forcing a much-needed debate about our corporate governance system. Are corporations producing returns only for stockholders? Or are they…

U.S. SEC to consider new guidance on investor use of proxy advisors – Reuters

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday said it would hold a meeting next week on whether to publish new guidance regarding the responsibilities of investors when relying on so-called proxy advisors.The proposal comes amid a push by the corporate lobby to rein in proxy advisors, which recommend how investors should vote in…

A Catch 22 for Asset Managers

Jasmin Sethi writes about the impact of concentrated voting power and calls for better disclosure of the exercise of ownership rights: The big three—BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard—are victims of their own size. As they have increased their assets under management, they have also increased their voting power as typically they vote the shares for…

Building a Climate Change Voting Policy

The high percentage of withdrawn proposals in the U.S. signifies a positive development for climate change risk-aware investors, as companies appear more willing to engage and disclose information that satisfies the original proponents. That said, proposal filings and the agreements that lead to proposal withdrawals reflect the specific views and requests of the filer. For…