UPDATE 1-Canada pension fund votes to separate Bank of America roles

Tue Sep 22, 2015 8:35am EDT
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Sept 22 (Reuters) - The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board said on Tuesday it has voted to strip Bank of America Corp Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan of his chairman's title, the biggest shareholder so far to declare its intentions in a closely watched corporate governance contest.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank is holding a special shareholder meeting Tuesday morning on bylaw changes it made last year to allow CEO Moynihan to take on the additional role of chairman, sparking protests from other public pension funds who say the roles should remain separated to provide more oversight.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board controls 103 million shares of the bank, or about 1 percent of the bank's shares, making it the tenth largest investor overall, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Representatives for the bank's top three investors - Vanguard Group, State Street Corp and BlackRock Inc - have so far declined to comment on how they will vote.

In an e-mailed message on Tuesday morning, a spokeswoman for the Canada fund cited a voting record posted on its website. The spokeswoman did not immediately return a message seeking further comment.

Technically the fund and other bank investors are voting on bylaw changes made to allow Moynihan to take on the additional role, and the bank has said it will honor the voting results.

The changes undid a vote by shareholders in 2009 to strip the previous CEO, Ken Lewis, of the chairman's title, at the height of the financial crisis. (Reporting by Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Dan Wilchins)