May 21, 2018 / 3:39 AM / in a month

MOVES-BlackRock head of Asia Pacific stewardship to step down

HONG KONG, May 21 (Reuters) - BlackRock said on Monday that Pru Bennett, head of its Asia Pacific investment stewardship team, will step down in January and a search for her successor is underway.

The move comes amid plans by the world’s largest asset manager to double its investment stewardship team in the next three years from its current 30, one third of whom are based in Asia.

In the past several years BlackRock has adjusted its stewardship approach “beyond voting at shareholder meetings to focus more on constructive engagement with companies, addressing rising expectations from clients and the companies themselves,” Michelle Edkins, its global head of investment stewardship, said in a statement.

Corporate governance has garnered more attention in Asia in recent years although activists’ concerns are not always heeded.

Last month the Hong Kong stock exchange adjusted its rules to allow companies with weighted voting rights to list in the city, a reform which Bennett and BlackRock strongly opposed.

Reporting by Alun John; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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