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US fund managers hit with damning climate report

Climate changeUS asset managers are “overwhelmingly” blocking pro-climate proposals, a shareholder action group has said.

ShareAction claims US managers make up the top ten overall worst performers in terms of proxy voting on climate matters, whilst European firms emerged as the best.

Capital Group, T. Rowe Price, and BlackRock were the three worst performing companies, according to the ShareAction report.

For example, over the last two years, Capital Group voted in favour of just 4.9% of climate-related policies associated with companies it invests in, while T. Rowe Price and BlackRock registered 5.3% and 6.7% votes in favour, respectively.

“These results are highly concerning as the 20 largest US fund managers control about 35% of global assets under management, more than double the 14% run by the top 20 European players,” ShareAction campaign manager Jeanne Martin said.

The group analysed shareholder votes cast by 57 of the world’s largest asset managers on a total of 65 proposals – including emissions reduction targets and climate reporting – that would speed up corporate action on climate change.

More than 50 investor initiatives have now been set up to encourage and support activity on climate change.

Despite having joined at least one such investor engagement initiative on climate change, six out of 10 of the worst proxy voter performers in the research fail to vote in favour of resolutions on climate-related disclosures, ShareAction claims.

“You can’t boast climate-awareness in public and block climate goals in private. Ultimately, these investors will be judged on their voting, which is the most powerful tool at their disposal,” Martin said.

The top five best performers overall were all European. Swiss firm UBS Asset Management led the way with 90.2% of votes in favour of climate resolutions, followed by Allianz Global Investors with 88.5%, and Aviva Investors with 86.9%.

A full copy of ShareAction’s report can be read here.

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