Public entities such as state and local governments have long put pressure in the companies they have invested in through their pension plans—and quite successfully. For one, many have successfully forced the boards of companies to allow for separate meetings of independent directors.
Now, as they increasingly move from defined benefit to defined contribution plans consisting of mutual funds, they are continuing the tradition, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The Florida State Board Administration, for instance, indicated in its annual report released this week that it did not vote for the directors of two Fidelity Investments mutual funds and for one at T. Rowe Price.
But the ability to pressure mutual fund boards is hampered by the routine nature and less frequent occurrence of their meetings. Also, while the Florida State Board Administration has structured its defined contribution plan in such a way that it holds voting shares, in most retirement plans, individual investors, who are unlikely to vote, hold them directly.