Author Topic: Proxy voting: individual vs institutional owners  (Read 1917 times)

teen persuasion

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Proxy voting: individual vs institutional owners
« on: February 19, 2016, 12:31:19 PM »
What are the chances a merger could get voted down by stockholders?

How are votes of shares held in mutual funds and especially index funds voted?

A merger was announced in October between our local/homegrown bank and a somewhat larger out-of-state bank.  We have stock of the local bank (F), and have accounts at both (other is K).  I really don't want to see this merger go thru, for multiple reasons.  Personally prefer F for accounts, we only have K for DH's HSA thru employer and haven't been pleased with their policies.  F has headquarters here, which would disappear when they are merged into larger K.  The whole point of the merger is cost reduction, which only occurs if branches are closed and people unemployed, but it would affect this area primarily, not K's headquarter area.  Currently, F and K branches are frequently near one another - if not within sight, then within a mile.  After any merger there will be lots of excess branches.  Competition becomes an issue - F, K, and M (the next big local bank) are 80+% of the local market.

We've already seen closings in the area in the few years leading up to this.  HSBC used to be big in the area; when they decided to get out of the US market, their local branches were sold to F.  One of those was in the village where I work, the only bank in the village, and used by my employer.  I was thrilled by the idea of F having a branch closer to me.  F sold it to K.  I have seen the trouble my employer had to go thru to transfer accounts and just STUFF.  After more than a year things finally got settled, and K CLOSED THE BRANCH.  They also closed several branches in the city 15 miles away, that they bought from F and were essentially next door to existing branches.

Local and state politicians are objecting to the merger for job loss and major employer loss reasons.

So, now that I have the proxy forms I intend to vote NO, but realise that probably the majority of shares are in index funds or the like.  How do those get voted?  Automatically vote as Board of Directors advises (yes), not voted, abstain?

seattlecyclone

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Re: Proxy voting: individual vs institutional owners
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2016, 12:35:12 PM »
Each mutual fund company is, as far as I know, free to vote as they please. Many tend to vote along with the directors. Vanguard publishes their guidelines here for the shares they own.

Jack

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Re: Proxy voting: individual vs institutional owners
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2016, 01:19:54 PM »
I wish mutual fund companies would [be forced to] allow each actual shareholder to vote their shares directly. Anybody know of a movement to lobby the SEC to that effect?

teen persuasion

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Re: Proxy voting: individual vs institutional owners
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2016, 01:57:28 PM »
I wish mutual fund companies would [be forced to] allow each actual shareholder to vote their shares directly. Anybody know of a movement to lobby the SEC to that effect?

Yeah, that is what I'd like here.  But what a logistical nightmare - and I'm not sure I'd normally be keen on voting 3728 proxies for my VTSAX's underlying stocks.

Jack

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Re: Proxy voting: individual vs institutional owners
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2016, 03:21:28 PM »
I wish mutual fund companies would [be forced to] allow each actual shareholder to vote their shares directly. Anybody know of a movement to lobby the SEC to that effect?

Yeah, that is what I'd like here.  But what a logistical nightmare - and I'm not sure I'd normally be keen on voting 3728 proxies for my VTSAX's underlying stocks.

Eh, nothing some decently-designed software can't handle. And for those who choose not to exercise those voting rights, their shares would be handled the same way individually-held shares whose owner doesn't vote would be now.

Vagabond76

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Re: Proxy voting: individual vs institutional owners
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2016, 07:38:22 PM »
Goes to show the investor really doesn't own squat with mutual funds.