Although Fidelity Investments has a policy to support cumulative-voting procedures—whereby a shareholder can pool all of their votes in director elections—the record shows that Fidelity either frequently abstains from such votes or votes against it, Dow Jones reports.
With cumulative voting, if a shareholder had one vote, for instance, and there were 10 positions up for re-election, the shareholder could place their votes individually for all 10 decisions or pool all 10 votes for just one slot. It is designed to give smaller investors more influence.
In its most recent filing on its proxy-voting guidelines with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Fidelity said it will “generally vote in favor of introduction to and against elimination of cumulative-voting rights where this is determined to enhance portfolio interests of minority shareholders.”
Fidelity spokesman Vin Loporchio said the company makes exceptions to the rule, depending on “the context in which the vote is before us.” However, Matthew M. Orsagh, a senior policy analyst with the CFA Institute, faulted Fidelity for reneging on its policy, saying, "If funds are going to go through the trouble of putting together guidelines and saying they follow them, they've got to actually do so."