State Street Global Advisors is giving eligible investors in certain institutional funds in the U.S and the U.K. the power to direct how their fund shares are voted.
"Clients in separately managed accounts already have the ability to either vote their own shares directly or delegate proxy voting of their shares to the firm's asset stewardship team," SSGA noted in a Tuesday news release.
With implementation of this new program, investors in more than 40% of the index equity assets managed by SSGA will have the ability to make choices regarding how their fund shares and separately managed accounts are voted, the release said.
SSGA added in the release that "over time" the firm intends to expand investor-directed voting choice to "as many of its index equity assets under management as possible." The asset manager had $3.26 trillion in total assets under management as of Sept. 30.
"The new voting choice program is a recognition of how important participation in proxy voting is to our clients," said Lochiel Crafter, executive vice president and head of the global institutional group of SSGA, in the release. "Giving even more investors the chance to choose how to vote shares held in funds they are invested in will remain a priority."
Over the past year, a number of other major money managers have taken similar steps with respect to proxy-voting matters.
For example, on Nov. 2, Vanguard Group said it planned to test a pilot program next year that is designed to "give more proxy-voting power to individual investors in several of its equity index funds." The firm had $7.1 trillion in AUM as of Oct. 31.
A few weeks earlier, on Oct. 13, Charles Schwab Investment Management unveiled a pilot program under which it will poll fund shareholders to "understand their overarching preferences regarding key proxy issues." As of Sept. 30, the firm managed approximately $614.1 billion on a discretionary basis and $31.9 billion on a non-discretionary basis.
Also, this summer, BlackRock announced it was expanding its Voting Choice program to allow more clients invested in its equity index funds to cast proxy votes. BlackRock managed a total of $7.96 trillion as of Sept. 30.