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Shareholder Democracy Is Getting Bigger Trial Runs


Well, that’s beginning to change. Several intriguing experiments are underway.One of the most interesting is a collaboration between an activist hedge fund, Engine No. 1, and the asset management platform Betterment, demonstrating that it’s easy to ask index fund investors what corporate battles they believe are most worth waging.The hedge fund in June started a new exchange-traded fund, available to individual investors. The fund is formally called Engine No. 1 Transform 500 ETF, but it has a catchier ticker symbol: VOTE. In important ways, the fund is quite ordinary: a plain vanilla E.T.F. with an expense ratio of 0.05 percent, making it a reasonable alternative to standard S&P 500 index funds run by far bigger companies.But this one has the express aim of “harnessing the power of investors to actually change companies,” said Michael O’Leary …

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