The largest U.S. asset managers increased their support of climate-focused shareholder resolutions since 2016, research from Morningstar shows. State Street Global Advisors and Fidelity funds subadvised by Geode Capital Management voted for about half of all climate-related resolutions that impacted its various fund holdings in the most recent year. The average across the cohort submitted “for” votes on 30% of all climate resolutions; that rate is up from 14.8% in 2017 and 7.7% in 2016.
Compared with investment firms that exclusively manage environmental, social and governance funds, the larger, more broad-based investment managers have a less-consistent record on how they vote on behalf of their clients. The study notes that much of this is due to policies in place that resolutions are voted on uniformly across all of a manager's funds.
The total number of climate-related resolutions by U.S. companies voted on by the group declined in 2018 to 41 from 56 the year before.