Chances are, if you invest in a fund that bills itself as gender-focused, you will count on it to make shareholder votes that keep those issues in mind.
But Morningstar did an analysis of three funds focused on this area and found that that is not always the case.
The three funds Morningstar reviewed include Glenmede Women in Leadership U.S. Equity Portfolio, Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund and SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity ETF.
Those three funds voted 47 times on 32 resolutions related to gender from 2016 to 2018.
But when it comes to pay equity disclosure resolutions, for example, their support was not unanimous. The Glenmede fund voted for these resolutions eight times, while the Pax Ellevate fund affirmed its support 12 times.
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State Street Global Advisors’ fund, however, voted against pay equity disclosure resolutions four times and abstained from voting once. The fund had no votes on record in favor of pay equity disclosure resolutions during that time period.
Much of State Street’s voting record can be attributed to a different approach it takes to advocacy on these issues, according to the firm. That includes more direct engagement with companies instead of emphasizing shareholder resolutions, where the proposals can be too prescriptive or may not approach gender issues in the way in which the firm would prefer.
In most cases where State Street voted against or abstained from voting, they voiced their concerns on these issues directly with the companies, the firm said.