The World’s Biggest Investors Get Louder About ESG

It may not be a coincidence that Wall Street giants are increasingly backing shareholder resolutions and telling everyone about it.


By Tim Quinson, Bloomberg

June 9, 2021


Perhaps never before have the world’s biggest fund managers been so vocal about how they plan to vote in annual shareholder meetings.


It’s not only Neuberger Berman, which telegraphed its decisions for more than 30 companies during this proxy season. BlackRock Inc. is regularly posting bulletins about its votes. Vanguard Group, in a rare move for the firm, revealed how it voted in the recent landmark overhaul of Exxon Mobil’s board of directors. Even firms like State Street Global Advisors and T. Rowe Price are declaring their positions (albeit when pushed).


It’s likely not a coincidence that these newly noisy investment giants are increasingly backing shareholder resolutions against company efforts to maintain the status quo. Exxon was the most public example as shareholders backed the appointment of three new directors despite the fossil fuel giant’s strenuous objections. Wall Street senses a new climate, and seems to be repositioning itself accordingly.


So far this year, there have been 169 environmental and social shareholder proposals, with average support of almost 34% of shares voted. Some 29 of those resolutions earned majority support...


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