Beginning in 2022, eligible BlackRock institutional clients in some index strategies, both separate accounts globally and pooled funds from the US and UK, will gain proxy voting options. These include voting based on their own proxies, voting directly via BlackRock’s voting infrastructure, and choosing amongst various third-party voting policies.

Investors who do not opt for the new choices will still be able to be represented by the asset manager’s voting policy and infrastructure. BlackRock made the announcement in a recent client letter.

Regarding index equity, around 40% of the $4.8 trillion in assets will be eligible for the new voting rights, with $750 billion of pooled fund assets being eligible. The firm is also planning new ways to expand proxy voting rights decisions due to client interest in investment stewardship and advances in technology.

Maria Nazarova-Doyle, head of pension investments and responsible investing at UK-based defined contribution multi-employer plan Scottish Widows, says it is “a welcome step change for the industry. … Our hope is that today’s news will act as a catalyst for others in our industry to consider how they can more directly facilitate participation in proxy voting.”