The Council of Institutional Investors (CII) and RPMI Railpen launched the Investor Coalition for Equal Votes (ICEV) on Monday, a $1 trillion initiative aimed at pushing back against unequal voting rights at portfolio companies.

The group intends to foster dialogue with key market participants and policymakers, emphasizing the importance of single-class share structures as a way of fostering “effective stewardship and long-term sustainable company performance,” especially among companies yet to launch their initial public offerings (IPO).

RPMI and CII hope that the initiative will “ultimately prevent the further enabling of dual-class share structures.”

“At a time when policymakers increasingly recognize the value of effective investor stewardship to achieving good member outcomes, it’s vital that the shareholder voice is heard by company management,” said Caroline Escott, ICEV chair and senior investment manager at Railpen, in a press release. “Voting is an important part of the stewardship toolkit, but dual-class share structures without automatic time-based sunset clauses mean long-term investors are trying to influence with one hand tied behind our backs.”

The New York State Comptroller, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, and Washington State Investment Board are among the investors to join the initiative.

Pressure is mounting on companies with dual-class share structures to recapitalize so all stock has one-vote-per-share. If the vote had been conducted on a one-share-one-vote basis, the latest recapitalization proposals at Alphabet and Meta Platforms’ 2022 annual meetings would have won 98.2% and 94.8% support, respectively.

Insightia’s Activism & Voting This Week newsletter on Friday explored rising investor opposition toward dual-class share structures in more detail.