Mutual funds as monitors: Evidence from mutual fund voting
We address how mutual funds vote on shareholder proposals and identify factors that help determine support of wealth-increasing shareholder proposals. We examine 213,579 voting decisions made by 1799 mutual funds from 94 fund families for 1047 shareholder proposals voted on between July 2003 and June 2005. In an analysis of voting across funds within the same fund family, we find significant divergence in voting within families, emphasizing the importance of focusing on voting by individual funds. We also find that, in general, mutual funds vote more affirmatively for potentially wealth-increasing proposals and funds' voting approval rates for these beneficial resolutions are significantly higher than those of other investors. Our results suggest that funds tend to support proposals targeting firms with weaker governance. We also find that funds with lower turnover ratios and social funds are more likely to support shareholder proposals. Finally, fund voting approval rates significantly impact whether a proposal passes and whether one is implemented.
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