BlackRock on Thursday issued its 2023 annual report detailing how it engages with public companies in which it is a shareholder — and notably clarified that BlackRock "does not tell companies what to do."
At a time when BlackRock has become a lightning rod for activists and politicians, the $8.6 trillion asset manager's latest BlackRock Investment Stewardship report highlighted that the firm tries to understand how companies operate — rather than to invest as a hands-on activist.
"As one of many, and typically a minority shareholder, BIS does not tell companies what to do. Our role, on behalf of our clients as long-term shareholders, is to better understand how company leadership is managing risks and capitalizing on opportunities to help protect and enhance the financial interests of their investors," the report said.
This year's 2023 report from the BlackRock Investment Stewardship division highlighted the following five priorities: corporate board quality and effectiveness; strategy, purpose and financial resilience; incentives aligned with financial value creation; climate and natural capital; and company impacts on people.
The priorities were identical to the BIS 2022 report, issued last February.
In the 2021-2022 proxy year, BIS said the firm conducted 3,693 total engagements with 2,464 unique companies across 55 markets.
This year's full report is available on BlackRock's website.