What Is the Impact of Mutual Funds' ESG Preferences on Portfolio Firms?

57 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2021 Last revised: 24 Feb 2021

See all articles by Maxime Couvert

Maxime Couvert

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; Swiss Finance Institute

Date Written: November 27, 2020

Abstract

Mutual funds must publish policies announcing how they generally vote on the different ballot items at the shareholder meetings of their portfolio firms. I manually collect 17,000 of these policies for a sample of 29 of the largest U.S. mutual fund families over 2006-2018. I find that voting policies are a major predictor of funds' voting behavior. Exploiting staggered changes in funds' voting policies, I show that investee companies adopt their mutual fund shareholders' preferred governance provisions. This adoption is the result of mutual fund shareholders' active voting. Announced voting policies also stimulate strategic proposal submissions by non-mutual fund shareholders.

Keywords: Corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, proxy voting, mutual funds

JEL Classification: G20, G23, G30, G34, M14, Q56

Suggested Citation

Couvert, Maxime, What Is the Impact of Mutual Funds' ESG Preferences on Portfolio Firms? (November 27, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3738666 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3738666

Maxime Couvert (Contact Author)

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

Extranef 245
Quartier UNIL-Chamberonne
Lausanne, CH-1015
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.maximecouvert.com

Swiss Finance Institute ( email )

c/o University of Geneva
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4
Switzerland

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