And this brings us back to BlackRock and the new BGI. BlackRock does have a reputation for speaking up and voting in favor of shareholder-friendly matters. On the Proxy Democracy site, BlackRock's activism score was at the 41st percentile, meaning the company is about average compared with it peers in supporting pro-shareholder votes.

As Barron's pointed out last weekend, BlackRock is also known for its much more active than passive culture compared to BGI. CEO Larry Fink has said one of the great virtues of this deal is that 80% to 90% of the two firms' activities do not overlap and can be left as is. I hope Fink will look closely at how the new BGI votes its shares and steers it closer to the BlackRock model and away from the Barclays model.

If Fink does this, and I have every reason to believe he will, the new BGI has a chance to play a powerfully positive role in voting its shares in future corporate elections.

In my view, sleepy boards and managements just lost one big chip of votes that, until now, they could count on being in their back pockets. All shareholders will benefit if there is a change in philosophy at BGI.
At the time of publication, Jackson had no positions in the stocks mentioned.

Eric Jackson is founder and president of Ironfire Capital and the general partner and investment manager of Ironfire Capital US Fund LP and Ironfire Capital International Fund, Ltd.

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