Not all shareholder activism stories paint mutual fund firms as subservient to the companies they invest in. Forbes
' Robert Lenzner writes
about BlackRock's [see profile]
shareholder voting record, painting the world's largest asset manager and exchange-traded fund firm's as an unrelenting activist, thanks in part to the fact that, according to Forbes, "80 percent of BlackRock's equity holdings are in indexed products," i.e. iShares [see profile]
ETFs and indexed separate accounts for institutions.
"After we engage and share our views, sometimes the companies come back and tell us to sell," Michelle Edkins
, governance chieftain at BlackRock, told the pub. "We can't we say -- that's why we're talking to you. We are the ultimate long-term investor on behalf of our clients. Our clients shareholdings will outlast many boards of directors."
Just how activist are Larry Fink
and his team? Forbes reports that the firm votes against management recommendations one third of the time in the Americas and half in Asia. BlackRock's recent shareholder fights include: the fight over the Murdoch family's dominance of News Corp; and BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Neil Anderson, Managing Editor
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