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Huizenga Opens Inquiry Into How Asset Managers Fulfill Their Fiduciary Responsibility

Today, Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Congressman Bill Huizenga (R-MI), released the following statement after sending letters of inquiry to asset managers at BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, J.P. Morgan Chase, T. Rowe Price, Prudential, Goldman Sachs, Fidelity, Capital Group Companies, and the Bank of New York Mellon.  

“The lack of transparency surrounding the decisions asset managers make on behalf of millions of retail investors is concerning,” said Chairman Huizenga. “Companies who leverage their voting power to strategically vote on shareholder proposals with the intention of driving social and environmental policy change deviates from the primary focus of maximizing investor returns. Congress must understand how asset managers fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities to prioritize financial returns and act in the shareholder’s best interest.”

The letter to each asset manager is available here.


Asset managers play a critical role in influencing the businesses they own on behalf of their shareholders – presumably striving to add financial value for investors. Given the outsized role asset managers have in the industry, it is important to understand how management firms balance environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives with making sound decisions on behalf of investors. Despite being labeled as a passive investor, asset management firms may be leveraging their voting power to drive environmental and social change, deviating from the primary focus of financial performance. For example, members of the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative collectively manage around $70 trillion in assets. These members have committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, extending this commitment to their investment portfolios. By making such commitments, investment institutions are inherently involving themselves, and their clients, in social and political matters that do not appear to directly contribute to investor returns.

Last week, Chairman Huizenga introduced The Empowering Shareholders Act of 2023. The legislation addresses concerns over passive investing and requires investment advisors to vote proxies in accordance with issuer voting instructions for covered securities held by passive index funds. The bill creates an exception for when the voting instructions of a shareholder are known or dictate otherwise.


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