BlackRock and State Street Update Proxy Voting Guidelines: Focus on Diversity and Climate Change

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - February 8, 2021
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Over the past two months, both BlackRock Investment Stewardship (“BlackRock”) and State Street Global Advisors (“SSGA”) have released updates to their proxy voting policies.  In December, BlackRock released its 2021 proxy voting guidelines together with a report summarizing its stewardship expectations for the coming year.  More recently, on January 26, BlackRock released Chairman and CEO Larry Fink’s annual letter to CEOs and its Executive Committee’s letter to clients, both of which further emphasized BlackRock’s increased efforts around climate change.  On January 11, 2021, SSGA’s CEO Cyrus Taraporevala released his annual letter on SSGA’s 2021 proxy voting agenda in which he announced that SSGA’s main stewardship priorities for 2021 will be the systemic risks associated with climate change and a lack of racial and ethnic diversity at both the board and workforce levels.  Our memo provides a summary of these recent developments.

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