BlackRock will allow retail investors to vote on proxy battles for the first time as it fends off criticism that its stance on environmental, social and governance issues is at odds with some of its shareholders.
“It’s clear there are investors who don’t want to sit on the sidelines; they have a view on corporate governance, and they want a meaningful way to express those views,” Fink wrote in a letter to clients and company chief executives. “Voting Choice has the power to transform the relationship between asset owners and companies.” BlackRock’s initiative to empower shareholders comes as the $8tn manager is under attack for its votes on environmental, social and governance matters. Republican treasurers in conservative US states have pulled more than $1bn from the group, alleging that it is hostile to fossil fuels. Some Democrats complain that the fund manager should be pushing companies harder to reduce carbon emissions.