Just a few months ago the Committee to Unleash Prosperity released our landmark report card on how the 40 largest money management firms with collectively more than $10 trillion under management were voting on ESG shareholder resolutions. We found that most of these firms – including Blackrock, State Street, and UBS – were potentially violating their fiduciary duty to their investors by proxy voting for resolutions that could hurt the profitability of the companies they own.
The results of our report were widely picked up by the media – including a full spread in the Wall Street Journal – causing much embarrassment and even a withdrawal of clients’ money at many of these firms.
Now just eight weeks later, the leader of the ESG band, Blackrock (whose CEO Larry Fink is a far lefty on climate change issues), is backing off big time.
This headline bowled us over and made our day, our week, our year:
July 17 (Reuters) – The world’s top asset manager BlackRock said it will offer proxy voting choices to U.S. retail investors of its biggest exchange-traded fund, expanding a strategy that could blunt criticism of how the firm considers environmental, social and governance (ESG) matters.
BlackRock said it plans to announce on Monday that investors in its iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV.P) will be able to choose among a range of policies to determine how the fund votes their shares at corporate annual meetings.
In a corporate press release, Salim Ramji, Global Head of iShares and Index Investments for BlackRock, commented: “The expansion of Voting Choice for this ETF would bring $2.3 trillion of BlackRock’s total index equity AUM – more than half our index equity AUM globally – in scope for participation in BlackRock Voting Choice.”
$2.3 TRILLION has been liberated. Not $2.3 BILLION. $2.3 TRILLION.
WOW! This is a gigantic win for shareholders and the free market movement. This is also a huge blow to the radical ESG movement and the leftwing shareholder activists who are trying to steer corporate America in a radical direction on issues like climate change and race and gender issues that have no place in corporate boardrooms.