Engagement at BlackRock, Vanguard & State Street Have Different Meanings
Engagement, engagement, engagement. That’s BlackRock’s plan over the next three years. This WSJ article highlights the differences in how BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street define engagement with their portfolio companies. Last week, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s annual letter created a buzz when he asked companies to focus not only on profits but also to serve a social purpose. Mr. Fink also put companies on notice that his firm will be stepping up its engagement efforts to increase its investment stewardship team to approximately 60 staff over the next few years.
The article points out that in terms of engagement in 2017, BlackRock led the pack with 1,603 engagements, 954 for Vanguard, and 676 for State Street. But they all define and go about engagement differently.
Also of note, are BlackRock and State Street’s push for companies to improve on gender diversity:
BlackRock plans to write to about 300 companies in the Russell 1000 that have fewer than two women on the board to ask them to disclose their approach to boardroom and employee diversity, BlackRock governance head Michelle Edkins said Thursday at a Santa Clara University event in California. The firm plans to ask them to set a time frame in which they will improve their diversity. State Street also pressed its portfolio companies to improve their boardroom diversity in 2017.
Engagement will be front and center for many investment firms moving forward as they will use engagement to dive deeper on matters that can positively impact and shift corporate behavior for its clients over the long-term.
Read more on this from the WSJ found here: At BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street, ‘Engagement’ Has Different Meanings