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By Sean Forbes
Employee benefit plan fiduciaries can exercise their shareholder rights with proxy voting as part of their fiduciary duty to manage plan assets, the Department of Labor said Dec. 28.
In Interpretive Bulletin 2016-1, the DOL gave several examples of when fiduciaries should vote their proxies:
The guidance doesn’t change plan fiduciaries’ underlying fiduciary duties, but it does indicate that they can take a more “holistic” approach to investment decisions, Lynn Dudley, senior vice president, global retirement and compensation policy at the Washington-based American Benefits Council, told Bloomberg BNA.
The 2008 guidance may have had a minor “chilling effect” for some fiduciaries, but the new guidance makes clear that “the door is open to considering things on a more holistic basis,” Dudley said.
The guidance is scheduled to be published Dec. 29 in the Federal Register.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sean Forbes in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at email@example.com
CORRECTION: The story has been clarified to reflect that plan fiduciaries, which aren’t necessarily the plan sponsors, can exercise shareholder rights via proxy voting.
Interpretive Bulletin 2016-1 is at http://src.bna.com/k1L.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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