Are Mutual Funds Active Voters?

April 9, 2015 Mutual funds vary greatly in their reliance on proxy advisory recommendations. Over 25% of funds rely almost entirely on ISS recommendations, while other funds place little weight on them. Funds with higher benefits and lower costs of researching items up for vote are less likely to rely on ISS. These actively voting funds are less likely vote in a ‘one size fits all’ manner and they earn higher alphas, consistent with benefits from this allocation of resources. For the underlying firms, the presence of actively voting funds mitigates the influence of ISS and helps sway shareholder votes toward value-maximizing outcomes.

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Source: Iliev, Peter and Lowry, Michelle, Are Mutual Funds Active Voters? (April 15, 2014). Review of Financial Studies, 2015.

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