The Growth of Proxy Advisors: A Debate


The growth of passive ETF strategies has also led to an increased concentration of proxy advisor voting rights amongst a handful of large firms. While these votes can be used for social good, this more activist approach begs certain questions:

  • If a “passive” investment firm exercises its rights to influence, should it still be considered passive?
  • What is the company’s position if it is not aligned with that of the end unitholder?
  • What conflicts of interest arise and how are they managed?
  • What impact does this activist approach have for both the fund and the firm?


  • Darin Renton, Partner, Stikeman Elliott


  • Steve Hawkins, President & CEO, Horizons ETFS
  • Amy Freedman, Chief Executive Officer, Kingsdale Advisors
  • Jeff Olin, President & CEO, Vision Capital
  • Talbot Babineau, President & CEO, IBV Capital

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