Two of the world’s largest asset managers intend to make changes to their proxy voting processes that will see investors in pooled funds able to participate in shareholder votes.
BlackRock has signed a deal with investor communications platform Proxymity that will enable retail investors to register their proxy voting preferences.
Meanwhile, Vanguard has declared that it plans to test various proxy voting options for individual investors in 2023.
The US-based asset manager stated that it planned to “assess ways to provide individual investors the opportunity to participate more directly in the proxy voting process”.
The inefficiency and opacity of the proxy voting chain have long been a source of frustration for investors, especially those involved in pooled funds or omnibus accounts that have largely been unable to have their voting preferences counted.
The issue has become more important in recent years due to shareholder activism and a greater focus on stewardship, as well as regulatory developments such as the European Union’s Shareholder Rights Directive.
The announcements from BlackRock and Vanguard came at the same time as the US Securities and Exchanges Commission introduced new rules on proxy voting disclosure that would require institutional investment managers to disclose proxy votes related to executive pay and compensation matters.
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