Last week, State Street Global Advisors announced a new program that will offer “proxy voting choice” to more institutional funds, as soon as this proxy season. The announcement follows an earlier memo that hinted this could be in the works. Here are the highlights:
State Street Global Advisors’ clients in separately managed accounts already have the ability to either vote their own shares directly or delegate proxy voting of their shares to the firm’s asset stewardship team.
With the addition of this new program, investors in more than 40% of the index equity assets managed by State Street Global Advisors will have the ability — by the start of the 2023 proxy season — to make choices regarding how shares held in the funds and separately managed accounts they own are voted. Over time, the firm intends to expand investor directed voting choice to as many of its index equity assets under management as possible.
As explained on SSGA’s website, the funds that participate in this voting option will do so using various ISS proxy voting policies — including the benchmark policy, sustainability policy, socially responsible investment policy, Catholic faith-based policy, public fund policy, Taft-Hartley policy and board aligned policy (which generally votes in favor of management recommendations).
SSGA says that it will continue to engage with portfolio companies through conversations, proxy voting and thought leadership. Pass-through voting/voting choice is shaping up to be a hot topic for the upcoming proxy season, with all three of the biggest asset managers now offering it. I blogged a few weeks ago on the Proxy Season Blog about fintech platforms to watch — and last week, about potential consequences for companies.
— Liz Dunshee, TheCorporateCounsel.net, December 19, 2022