Investment Stewardship 2020 Annual Report

The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation 2020-09-30

Posted by Michelle Edkins, Hilary Novik-Sandberg, and Victoria Gaytan, BlackRock, on Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Editor's Note: Michelle Edkins is Global Head of Investment Stewardship; Hilary Novik-Sandberg is Associate of Corporate Governance amd Investment Stewardship; and Victoria Gaytan is a Vice President at BlackRock. This post is based on a BlackRock memorandum by Ms. Edkins, Ms. Novik-Sandberg, Ms. Gaytan, and Sandra Boss.

Our fiduciary responsibility

BlackRock Investment Stewardship’s (BIS) activities are a crucial component of our fiduciary duty to our clients. Investment stewardship is how we use our voice as an investor to promote sound corporate governance and business practices to help maximize long-term shareholder value for our clients, the vast majority of whom are investing for long-term goals such as retirement. In addition to direct dialogue with the companies in which our clients invest, we help shape norms in corporate governance, sustainability, and stewardship through active participation in private sector initiatives and the public policy debate. In the reporting year from July 1, 2019 to July 30, 2020, we responded formally to seven policy consultations and spoke at more than 180 events to advance sound governance and sustainable business practices.

Promoting sound corporate governance is at the heart of our stewardship program. We believe that high-quality leadership and business management is essential to delivering sustainable financial performance. That is why we focus on board quality, effectiveness, and accountability across the broad universe of companies globally that our clients are invested in. Engagement and voting are the two most frequently used instruments in BIS’ stewardship toolkit.