AUM in Action

UK Asset Owners Seek Voting Control

A group of UK-based asset owners, including Scottish Widows, London CIV and the Environment Agency Pension Fund, have called for increased adoption of pass-through voting by asset managers. The signatories to an open letter have identified an increasing “divergence” between the voting practices of their asset managers and the investment principles of their clients, noting that this disconnect is “especially noticeable” regarding ESG issues, “where some asset managers are regressing rather than progressing on their expectations of portfolio companies”. Anti-ESG rhetoric – especially in the US – has made it “impossible” for global asset managers to fairly represent the opposing views of their investors, the letter said. The asset owners welcomed the response of asset managers that have begun adopting technologies like the pass-through voting system designed by Tumelo, urging wider adoption. The letter said: “We believe that pass-through voting is more than just good practice; the choice for clients is essential to ensure asset owners meet their fiduciary duties. We are responsible for the investments of millions of beneficiaries, it is therefore critical that we steward their assets by considering and endeavouring to reduce systemic, material risks.” 

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