While it's sometimes surprising for an investor to check on the performance of their mutual funds, it's even more of a shock when they check on their funds' proxy voting records.
But that, in fact, is what investors may one day do, the Associated Press reports. The Securities and Exchange Commission only began requiring funds to disclose their voting records two years ago. To date, few fund companies actually display their voting records, and shareholder activists have only begun to dig through these filings.
Nonetheless, once investors come to realize that mutual funds own 25% of all of the publicly traded stock in this country, or $9.5 trillion worth of stock--and wield the corresponding proxy voting power--they might pay closer attention to funds' poor voting records.
One early study by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the AFL-CIO and The Corporate Library found that funds approved management's recommendations on compensation nearly 74% of the time. "With few exceptions, the largest mutual fund families are complicit in runaway executive compensation for failing to vote in the best interests of the shareholders," the report found.