BlackRock is extending a scheme, launched earlier this year, which allows institutional investment clients of its equity index funds to participate in proxy voting decisions at investee firms. By expanding the institutional pooled fund ranges eligible for its Voting Choice initiative in the UK and making the scheme available to Canadian and Irish institutional pooled funds, BlackRock has broadened access to nearly half (47%) of its US$4.9 trillion index equity assets. More than 650 pooled investment funds in the US and the UK are now eligible to participate. In the five months since BlackRock introduced the programme, clients representing US$120 billion of assets have elected to vote their own preferences. The asset manager, which holds US$10 trillion AUM, also published a white paper outlining plans to extend the scheme to individual investors. “Our ambition is to make voting choice convenient and efficient for all investors, and we are working with policymakers and industry participants around the world to extend voting choice for our clients,” said Salim Ramji, Global Head of iShares and Index Investments, BlackRock.