Schwab Asset Management, the asset management arm of The Charles Schwab Corp., today announced the launch of a pilot program to poll shareholders on key proxy issues. The new shareholder engagement platform, developed by Broadridge Financial Solutions, will allow Schwab to gain insight into shareholder preferences on a range of core proxy issues in a scalable way.
Broadridge’s new program aims to provide an efficient and scalable way to gather general preferences across a large base of shareholders. Schwab Asset Management is the first large asset manager to pilot Broadridge’s new proxy polling program. The pilot launches Friday and will engage the shareholders of one Schwab fund — the Schwab 1000 Index Fund (SNXFX) — and two Schwab ETFs: the Schwab 1000 Index ETF (SCHK) and the Schwab Ariel ESG ETF (SAEF).
“Voting shares of securities held by our funds is a duty Schwab Asset Management takes very seriously. We want to better understand shareholders’ views on important proxy issues, and we know more shareholders want to share their views with us and express their unique preferences through their investments,” said Omar Aguilar, CEO and CIO of Schwab Asset Management, in a news release. “We are proud to be a leader in piloting this new tool for shareholder engagement.”
Through the new service, investors will complete a survey that will provide insights into investors’ priorities on a range of core proxy issues concerning maximizing long-term shareholder value, company policies, corporate governance practices, and environmental and social issues. Shareholders will not be surveyed on specific proxy ballots.
Shareholders of the funds can expect to receive the poll via email or postcard beginning tomorrow through the next few weeks, with outreach to new shareholders of the funds occurring monthly. The insights from the poll will be leveraged as a new source of intelligence to help inform Schwab Asset Management’s proxy voting approach and policies.
“Schwab’s use of the new polling technology, developed by Broadridge, is another step forward in the democratization of investing,” added Bob Schifellite, Broadridge’s investor communication solutions president. “Broadridge continues to invest in technology platforms designed to enhance shareholder engagement and allow public companies and asset managers the opportunity to better reflect the views of investors.”
Schwab Asset Management’s investment stewardship team is dedicated to voting proxies on behalf of all shareholders’ best long-term interests. Its proxy voting policies focus on maximizing long-term shareholder value.
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