BlackRock 2022 Proxy Voting: Signaling a new approach to E&S issues?

BlackRock’s investment stewardship’s 2022 proxy voting record, which was detailed in its 2022 voting spotlight summary, demonstrates the “principled approach” the firm takes when analyzing proxy issues. Sandy Boss, Global Head of Investment Stewardship, wrote that “[c]reating long-term value for [BlackRock’s] clients … remained the driving focus of the BlackRock Investment Stewardship (BIS) team as [BlackRock] navigated through another turbulent year, in which complex geopolitical and socioeconomic forces disrupted communities and the global economy.”

In providing context for BlackRock’s 2022 proxy voting decisions, Mr. Boss, highlighted the macroeconomic headwinds investors confronted in 2022 including inflation, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, disrupted supply chains, and tight labor markets.

BlackRock recognized that these forces combined to “impair the ability of many companies to meet customer needs… created a humanitarian crisis … intensified the mismatch in global energy supply and demand [which] was exacerbated by surging energy demand on the back of the post-COVID restart.”2 BlackRock analyzed 2022’s annual meeting agendas in this context and consequently supported management more frequently than last year.

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