BlackRock prevails over shareholder activists at annual meeting

BlackRock Inc., a leading fund manager, received support from investors at its annual meeting on Wednesday as it attempts to find common ground in discussions surrounding its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies.

BlackRock reported that 92% of participants in the online poll supported the compensation of Chief Executive Larry Fink and other leaders. Each of its director nominations won “well over a majority” of the votes submitted.

BlackRock, a company based in New York, also reported that two shareholder proposals addressing climate change had less than 10% support, while a third resolution from a conservative group criticising BlackRock’s diversity initiatives received less than 1% support.

BlackRock was urged in one of the climate resolutions to submit a report on how it may increase pension fund client returns by concentrating its stewardship activities and proxy voting to “engineer decarbonization in the real economy.”

Fink stated that BlackRock does not play that function. During the meeting, he added, “We have clients who want that, but we also have clients who are not interested in it, and we must work with our clients.

BlackRock, a leading investor at most major U.S. firms with $9.1 trillion under management, is under increasing fire from liberal and conservative-leaning political figures and investor advocates.

Fink was opposed as a director by leading proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services, despite calls for his resignation from an activist firm and the state treasurer of North Carolina late last year.

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