Companies with dual-class shares and other unequal voting structures will still be eligible for inclusion in the MSCI global investible market indices, New York-based MCSI Inc. announced Tuesday.
The index and analytics firm also announced it will launch a new index series the will reflect the desire of many investors to account for unequal voting structures in the indices they use.
The decisions follow an 18-month consultation “which highlighted the divide in opinions among international institutional investors,” MSCI says in a news release.
Some institutional investors believe that indices should be adjusted to reflect unequal voting rights, MSCI reports, while others maintain that the issue should be addressed by regulators, stock exchanges, and other market participants.
As a result, MSCI has decided that its global indixes will continue to include securities with unequal voting structures, weighted by their free float market cap.
Global market benchmarks should “represent the broadest investment opportunity set available to international institutional investors based solely on the investibility of the underlying markets. Investible market benchmarks should not be constrained by specific investor opinions, preferences or constraints including governance issues,” says MCSI.
A new index series, which MCSI aims to launch in the first quarter of 2019, will include voting rights in the eligibility criteria and construction methodology. It will “offer choice and flexibility to international institutional investors who wish to reflect voting rights in their equity benchmarks,” MCSI says.
“Current market benchmarks have served the investment community well over the past decades as an objective reflection of the investable investment opportunity set available to international institutional investors. As of today, we do not believe that preferences and constraints on voting rights, among other governance considerations, should impact the definition of the investable universe underpinning these benchmarks as equity securities with no or unequal voting rights are still investable for most investors”, says Remy Briand, managing director and chairman of the MSCI index policy committee.
“At the same time, an increasingly large number of international investors believe that it is important to incorporate additional considerations beyond investibility in their benchmarks and have been using for that purpose a wide range of standard or customized indices that incorporate governance considerations,” adds Briand.