Lobbying to make my ETF shares count for ESG resolutions

For investors outside the US. Personal investments, personal finance, investing news and theory.
Sister forums: Canada, Spain (en español)
---------------
Post Reply
Topic Author
KlausTaler
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:24 am

Lobbying to make my ETF shares count for ESG resolutions

Post by KlausTaler »

Which steps do I have to take and which initiatives can I support to make my ETF shares count in favor of ESG resolutions at shareholder meetings?

My understanding is that you cannot tell your ETF provider how to vote on individual resolutions, or even to vote in favor of ESG proposals by shareholders in general. They cast all their votes according to their internal guidelines. In the case of Fidelity, that isn't too bad, as they already vote against management in 50% of relevant cases. BlackRock, despite the rhetoric of its CEO, only does so in ~10% of cases. The problem is that in Germany, I can't build a simple, global ETF portfolio with Fidelity. So:

- Are there already initiatives that try to convince ETF providers to do proper proxy voting voluntarily?
- Are there any standard letters that I can send to my providers to ask for this mechanism, or at least to cast votes more aggressively in favor of ESG resolutions?
- Are there any efforts that try to lobby legislators, especially in Europe, to force ETF providers to support proper proxy voting?

My ideal scenario would be:
- The ETF provider asks me how they should vote on proposals.
- For the shares whose owners casted a vote, the ETF provider casts the votes by proxy.
- The votes for the shares whose owners didn't cast a vote are decided based on the ETF provider's internal guidelines.

For example, if the owners of 10% of shares are against supporting the management of Exxon, and 5% are in favor, and Fidelity's analysts are against it, Fidelty would vote 95% against and 5% in favor.
scottr08
Posts: 21
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:38 am

Re: Lobbying to make my ETF shares count for ESG resolutions

Post by scottr08 »

I don't know of any ETF providers that will let you vote personally, but I know there will be a new ETF [symbol: VOTE] that will vote to support ESG measures in companies. Not sure if it'll be able to be purchased in Germany, but it should be available in the US sometime. Engine No. 1 is the company that will be offering it.
Post Reply