UK - Trade unions claim only 40% of fund managers replied to a survey of their voting records, but many high-profile firms insist they were never asked.
The TUC’s survey is part of a campaign for greater accountability and transparency in the way fund managers exercise their “ownership” of employees’ rights.
But it said a number of large fund managers – including Barclays Global Investors, HSBC, Invesco, Scottish Widows Investment Partnership and Threadneedle Asset Management – either failed or declined to respond.
TUC policy officer Tom Powdrill said the most common reason given for not revealing voting records was “client confidentiality”.
Powdrill said: “If you take the view that decisions are confidential to clients the only way you can see how a fund manager votes is after you have hired them.
“There is no way of telling how seriously the people who haven’t given us information take corporate governance.”
But he added the TUC was surprised that so many managers, including the Co-op, Isis and the Universities Superannuation Scheme, supplied voting records. And in some cases trustees sent the records through themselves.
Powdrill stressed that the TUC would continue to push for public disclosure.
But Invesco, Martin Currie Investment Management, Morgan Stanley and Old Mutual Asset Managers all said the reason they did not reply to the survey was because they had not been contacted by the TUC.
“If we had received it we would have responded,” a spokesman for Martin Currie said.
“Not least because pension funds are a huge part of our business and the TUC is a great influencer.”
Edinburgh Fund Managers, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Societe Generale Asset Management and SWIP said they declined to reply as they dealt with votes on a client-by-client basis.
F&C Management said time constraints had prevented it from responding.
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