Fidelity Investments and BlackRock spent more than any other asset managers on lobbying in the US last year, according to data compiled by a political research group.
The figures will concern investor advocacy groups who have previously accused fund managers of using lobbying to water down regulations designed to protect investors.
Fidelity spent $3.2m on lobbying, while BlackRock, the world’s largest fund house, with $4.6tn of assets, spent $2.5m, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org website.
Fidelity said the number calculated by OpenSecrets, which compiled its data based on figures from the Senate Office of Public Records, is $200,000 higher than what it spent. BlackRock did not dispute the figure.
BlackRock shared a coup with other large asset managers last year when the Financial Stability Oversight Council, an umbrella group of US regulatory agencies, indicated it would focus on fund products, not companies, when assessing systemic risk.
Barbara Novick, vice-chairman of BlackRock who oversees the group’s lobbying efforts as chairman of its government relations steering committee, said: “It is very important to have a voice of investors at the table.”
“For the past five years [we have tried] to bring an investor perspective to the dialogue, whether it is about [central counterparties] or corporate bond market structure, high-frequency trading or money market funds.”
US passive fund giant Vanguard spent the third-highest amount on lobbying ($2.1m), followed by Canadian pension scheme TIAA-CREF ($1.9m) and Citadel, the US hedge fund group ($640,000).
Vanguard and TIAA-CREF confirmed their figures, while Citadel declined to comment.
Richard Henderson is associate editor of FundFire, an FT news service
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