Industry Updates

State Street extends proxy voting powers to ETF and mutual fund investors

SSGA plans to include all US-listed passive ETFs and mutual funds in voting choice by the end of 2024

Jamie Gordon

State Street office building

State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) has extended powers for investors to choose how their proxy votes are cast to 82% of eligible passive ETFs and mutual funds including all US institutional equity index funds.

The asset manager has partnered with a “leading financial technology provider” to give investors in certain US-listed SPDR ETFs and mutual funds – primarily invested in US securities – the ability to choose a proxy voting policy that will reflect the voting of shares held by the funds.

The firm said it plans to include all eligible index-tracking equity US ETFs and mutual funds in its voting choice programme by the end of 2024.

Yie-Hsin Hung, CEO of SSGA, commented: “As the pioneering force behind many of the world’s first ETFs, we are proud to present yet another innovation that amplifies our ongoing mission to democratise investing.

“By empowering individuals with the choice to direct the vote of the shares they own through an ETF or mutual fund, we are placing a powerful tool directly in their hands.”

In December 2022, the firm announced the initial roll-out of devolved proxy voting for 49% of eligible passive equity assets in separately managed accounts and certain US and UK institutional funds.

Voting policies are made available to investors through proxy voting provider Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). Investors can also choose to continue delegating their votes to the SSGA Asset Stewardship team.

Last November, fellow ‘Big Three’ asset manager Vanguard announced it would trial proxy voting for individual investors on some index funds in the US from early 2023. 

Less than a day later, BlackRock announced it was extending its ‘Voting Choice’ programme to retail investors in the US and select mutual funds in the UK. 

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