BlackRock expands Voting Choice program to millions of U.S. retail shareholders
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Proxy Shareholder Stock Market Ticker Voting Rights 3d Illustration
About 3 million shareholders will now have the option to utilize proxy voting as part of BlackRock's effort to further democratize its investment options.

BlackRock, an investment company and the world’s largest asset manager, is expanding its voting choice program to millions of retail shareholder accounts.

The program was originally for institutional clients, but is expanding to individual investors, increasing eligible Voting Choice assets to $2.6 trillion, half of the company’s index equity assets under management (AUM).

The program applies to accounts invested in iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) and represents about $200 billion of the fund’s $399 billion in AUM.

Eligible shareholders will begin receiving communication about the program from BlackRock on Feb. 14, including ways to join the program. BlackRock will evaluate investor interest as the expanded pilot program gets underway.

Voting Choice is a BlackRock offering that leverages technology and innovation to provide eligible clients with more opportunities to participate in proxy voting where it is legally and operationally viable. Proxy voting allows shareholders to cast a ballot even if they can’t attend a shareholder meeting.

Proxy voting allows shareholders to vote in accordance with their own views and preferences and decide how to invest their money to meet financial objectives, according to BlackRock.

Clients participating in the program represent $598 million in AUM. AUM is the sum of the market value for all investments managed by a particular fund or family of funds, a venture capital firm, brokerage company and more.

“Broadening access to Voting Choice is one way we empower investors by making proxy voting easier and more accessible,” said Joud Abdel Majeid, BlackRock’s head of investment stewardship.

“I’m thrilled that today more than 3 million additional shareholder accounts have an efficient solution for participating in proxy voting if they choose. For clients and shareholders who entrust BlackRock with voting on their behalf, we remain steadfast in our focus on their longterm financial interests.”

Under the expanded program, eligible shareholders will be able to select from six third-party proxy voting policies covering various voting preferences. They will also have the option to continue having proportionate shares voted according to the company’s investment stewardship voting policy.

Shareholders who choose not to participate in proxy voting, or who are not eligible, will continue to have BlackRock Investment Stewardship vote on their behalf.

“We launched Voting Choice two years ago to further democratize investing and enable more investors to participate in shareholder voting,” said Rachel Aguirre, head of BlackRock’s iShares product.

“Today, for the first time, we’re able to unlock Voting Choice for millions of individual U.S. investors. This is another important step in the broader innovation that BlackRock continues to bring to ETFs (exchange traded funds).”

More information for shareholders is available on the BlackRock website.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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