The Blackrock Voting Choice scheme, announced last October, is now available to a wider range of UK institutional clients and has been introduced to large Canadian and Irish investors for the first time.
Clients have so far committed $530bn, or a quarter of the $2.1trn eligible assets, to voting along their preferences, including $120bn added since the scheme went live in January 2022.
“Our ambition is to make voting choice convenient and efficient for all investors, and we are working with policymakers and industry participants around the world to extend voting choice for our clients,” said Salim Ramji, global head of iShares and index investments.
In a white paper published today (13 June), BlackRock said that it is currently working with industry partners on a pilot that aims to enable all investors in UK mutual funds and ETFs to exercise choice in how their portion of eligible shareholder votes are cast on the companies in this fund.
Beyond this UK pilot programme, the firm has already begun offering additional shareholder voting options in the US to a subset of individual investors, as well as endowments and foundations, through Aperio, a provider of separately managed accounts within BlackRock.
BlackRock made the figures public ahead of a US Senate hearing on Tuesday on the voting power of index tracking funds.
According to the FT, the hearing will focus on Alaska senator Dan Sullivan’s bill that would prevent index fund managers from voting on shareholder proposals and director elections unless they have specific approval from large institutional investors.