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Perspectives on Cyber Risk
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Blackrock Inc publishes vote bulletins

Blackrock Inc publishes vote bulletins

June 19, 2017 11:44 AM | Print this page

The WSJ reports that Blackrock Inc has taken 'the unprecedented step of disclosing the rationale behind some of its voting on proposals at annual general meetings of oil and gas companies, providing a 'glimpse into the thinking of the behemoth investment firm'. According to the WSJ, the decision to publish the vote bulletins indicate that 'BlackRock is clearly pushing for greater disclosure of climate risk policies and practices, and is using the power of the vote to drive its point home'.

The statement on the Blackrock website says: 'In 2017, Investment Stewardship will publish on a very limited basis statements on our analysis, engagements and votes in relation to certain high profile proposals at company shareholder meetings. Although we currently explain many of these votes in our quarterly reports, the explanation is usually anonymized and high level. Given the interest in certain votes, we decided it was more effective to explain our approach and decision publicly on the day of the meeting, or shortly thereafter, so interested clients and others can be aware of BlackRock’s vote when it is of most relevance to them'.
The WSJ report quotes Michelle Edkins, managing director and global head of BlackRock’s investment stewardship team 'we published on climate risk-related shareholder proposals highlight our engagement first approach to our activities and the range of outcomes that can result from our dialogue with management and directors.' The report adds that the issue of climate risk had been highlighted as one of BlackRock’s engagement priorities this year. Ms Edkins is quoted as stating given 'increased client interest in our stewardship work, [we] decided to be more transparent about key engagements and votes related to those priorities'.
Presently, Blackrock has published bulletins pertaining to Exxon Mobil; Royal Dutch Shell; Chevron; Occidental Petroleum and Santos.

[Source: Blackrock Inc: Investment stewardship guidelines, reports and position papers, 2017 vote bulletins;  the WSJ 15/06/2017]