Vanguard will test a pilot program next year designed to give more retail investors the ability to vote their own shares.
In a Wednesday announcement, the $7 trillion fund manager revealed that it will “pilot a number of proxy voting policy options for individual investors to choose from in several Vanguard-managed equity index funds.”
The investment manager will “gather client and stakeholder feedback as we test this approach and explore the full range of options with respect to proxy voting choices for index funds,” it said.
It is Vanguard’s aim that the pilot will provide institutional investors with the opportunity to “participate more directly” in the proxy voting process, helping investors to share their “diverse perspectives” and “weigh in” on how their index funds vote on important proxy questions.
An increasing number of fund managers are looking to expand voting choice for clients.
That same day, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink revealed a new pilot program to allow retail investors in the U.K. to vote on proxy battles for the first time, as part of the fund manager’s partnership with digital platform Proxymity.
State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) similarly unveiled plans to give select clients more power to vote their shares, specifically those in separately managed account structures.
Technology is enabling a “revolution in shareholder democracy” that will “transform the relationship between asset owners and companies,” Fink said.