Would Mutual Funds Bite the Hand that Feeds Them? Business Ties and Proxy Voting
45 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2005
Date Written: February 15, 2005
This paper analyzes conflicts of interest in proxy voting by mutual funds using newly-available data on funds' voting records for 2004. We first examine mutual funds' ties to corporate clients created via pension fund business and their patterns of portfolio ownership. We then link these to proxy votes at specific firms and to overall voting policies for 21 mutual fund families, CalPERS and CREF. Among large fund families, levels of ownership are essentially independent of client relationships between mutual funds and firms, and funds are no more likely to vote with management at client firms than non-clients. At the policy level, however, we find a positive relation between the volume of pension business a fund's parent does and its propensity to vote with management.
Keywords: Conflicts of interest, proxy voting, mutual funds, employee pension plans
JEL Classification: G23, G34, L14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation