Thursday's Fund Track column
(login required) puts a dent in the assertion that mutual fund managers vote all their proxy shareholder votes as a single voice, siding with boards of directors and management. The Wall Street Journal
's Sam Mamudi shines a light on the case of J.C. Penney
, where a dispute over a failed limit on executive severance split fund managers, with Bill Miller
's Legg Mason Value Trust
and the Vanguard 500 Index Fund
putting their votes on the side of J.C. Penney's board while Eaton Vance Enhanced Equity
and Neuberger Berman Partners Portfolio
voted against the board. (The four funds held about $200 million, $83 million, $90 million and $69 million in J.C. Penney, respectively, according to Mamudi.) Here, at least, the institutional money was not unanimous.
Yet since the SEC
mandated disclosure of funds' proxy votes starting in 2003, the issue has mostly captured the press' attention because of alleged uniformity in fund managers' votes (see The MFWire
, May 22, 2007).
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