BlackRock Takes First Step Towards Shareholder Democracy

BlackRock logo outside company headquarters in Manhattan. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
Blackrock's restoration of proxy voting by shareholders is a step toward better corporate governance.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE B lackRock is making history with an innovative policy change: It will soon let its largest institutional clients vote on corporate proxy matters themselves. While critics note that this sea change from BlackRock voting its client’s shares is limited to a small group of well-heeled funds, the move could spark an overdue renaissance for shareholder democracy.

That would resolve a paradox that accompanied the spectacular rise of index funds since the 1990s. The wide availability of low-cost index products democratized share ownership, allowing every household unprecedented access to capital markets. But control of the resulting vote moved in the opposite direction. It is

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