Vanguard, Northern Trust, BlackRock and Fidelity scored the lowest among researched funds in supporting AFL-CIO endorsed proxy issues in 2012, according to their 2012 Key Votes Survey. Calvert, Amalgamated Bank, McMorgan and Bridgeway scored the highest.
On proxy-voting issues at 32 companies the AFL-CIO considers representative of a “worker-owner view of value that emphasizes management accountability and good corporate governance,” Vanguard voted against all 32 proposals; Northern Trust, 28 out of 29; BlackRock, 30 out of 32; and Fidelity, 28 out of 30.
The AFL-CIO ranked the firms on 19 proxy proposals, ranging from proxy access to executive compensation, filed at 32 companies. Among proxy advisers, Marco Consulting and Proxy Vote Plus scored the highest, each supporting all 32 proposals, while Shareholder Association for Research & Education supported 15 out of 15 proposals. Institutional Shareholder Services favored 26 of 32, and Glass Lewis, 18 of 32.
Another finding, according to Brandon Rees, acting director of the AFL-CIO office of investment, as reported by Pensions & Investments:
Asset managers more concentrated in defined contribution plans tend to vote more often with management on issues covered in the key-vote survey. There is always a concern about potential conflict of interest that any asset manager might be tempted not to bite the hand that feeds it given the growth of the 401(k) market.
For a news stream on mutual fund votes, analysis and to request a custom analysis of fund voting, see FundVotes. com.