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BlackRock opposes shareholder proposal critical of firm’s proxy voting on executive compensation

BlockRock headquarters in New York City

BlackRock (BLK)'s board of directors recommended voting against a shareholder proposal critical of the money manager's proxy voting on executive compensation at companies in which it invests, the company's proxy statement disclosed.

The proposal, which calls for a re-evaluation of BlackRock's proxy-voting policies, states that BlackRock approved 99% of votes on CEO pay packages in the year ended June 30. “This level of support was higher than that of other investment managers; the average approval rating of 200 fund families was 89% support,” it said.

BlackRock, in its recommendation to vote against the proposal, said a nearly identical proposal at its 2016 annual meeting was voted down by 95% of shareholders.

“We do not believe that additional reporting on the stewardship team's approach to compensation policies is warranted or would add value to our shareholders' understanding of the stewardship team's approach to compensation. We are also concerned that the shareholder proposal, if implemented, would place undue emphasis on the voting record of the stewardship team and jeopardize their ability to engage with companies on behalf of BlackRock's clients,” the company said in the April 13 proxy statement.

In 2016, Institutional Shareholder Services, Glass Lewis, the C$175.6 billion ($132 billion) Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Toronto, and $133.2 billion Texas Teacher Retirement System, Austin, all opposed the previous shareholder proposal.

BlackRock's annual meeting is May 25 in New York.