More BlackRock investors choose to vote for their own stocks
Black stones Of Inc.
A plan for institutional investors to vote for their shares is taking shape.
The world’s largest asset manager said on Monday that its voting options platform has added investors representing about $120 billion in assets since it launched in October, bringing its total number to $530 billion. BlackRock has made the option available to large investors who control $2.3 trillion in passive equity assets.
BlackRock launched the program in response to feedback from customers who said they wanted more control over voting. About 45% of qualified investors have expressed interest in the platform.
BlackRock and other major asset managers have grown rapidly in recent years with the growing popularity of passive, index-tracking funds. Wealth managers often vote on shareholder proposals on behalf of these investors, giving them great influence over corporate decision-making.
The companies have used their influence to push companies to improve diversity and cut their reliance on fossil fuels, among other things. Their stance on social issues has drawn the ire of some company executives and lawmakers.
Last month, a group of Republican senators introduced a bill calling for individual investors in passive funds to their share voting optiona move to limit the power of BlackRock and its ilks.
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BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said he wants to go to a place where all investors – institutions and individuals alike – have the option to vote for their shares. The company manages about $10 trillion in assets.
BlackRock’s investment management team votes on behalf of most investors in the company’s passive offerings. Last year, the team voted on 165,000 shareholder proposals for tens of thousands of companies worldwide.
“We invested in voting options and management at the same time,” said Sandy Boss, global head of investment management at BlackRock. “It’s an addition, not a replacement.”
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