Mar 5, 2024

Corporate Engagement Update: It's Working! And We Need Your Help Again

Inspire and coalition partners work with ISS to provide new proxy voting options. Now we need your help again!
Corporate Engagement Update: It's Working! And We Need Your Help Again

It’s working!

Last fall, Inspire Investing organized a coalition of asset managers and investment advisors to petition ISS and Glass Lewis regarding their proxy services and voting recommendations. Through your efforts, we received over 100 signatures, representing over $250 billion in assets under management/advisement. Thank you!

Inspire’s petition was part of a multi-pronged engagement strategy with both companies.

Asset managers and advisors joined with state attorneys general, state treasurers, and congressional officials to voice our concerns and request that action be taken. Inspire and other coalition partners have had very productive conversations with ISS and Glass Lewis, and we appreciate each company’s openness to dialogue and hear our concerns. More importantly, ISS has recently disclosed its decision to provide a specialty policy option for investors who do not subscribe to central ESG provisions, which was the first request in our petition. Although we understand that this option will currently only be made available to public pension clients and not asset managers, this is a huge step in the right direction, and we are encouraged by the steps that have been taken to meet this clear demand in the market. Read this recent article from Reuters.com outlining ISS’s newest voting option through Bowyer Research.

What now?

While we will continue to do our part to dialogue with ISS and Glass Lewis about making “non-ESG” specialty options more accessible to investors, we are also working hard on the second request in the petition, which is for both companies to support more “non-ESG” resolutions within their benchmark policies. This is very important given the outsized influence their voting recommendations have. Getting their support on our resolutions will go a long way toward raising the overall vote and getting company management to listen to our concerns. In recent months, we have had productive dialogue with ISS and Glass Lewis regarding their benchmark policy voting recommendations on various shareholder proposals that call for transparency and risk assessment on controversies such as politicized de-banking, censorship, de-carbonization, brand politicization, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives.  

We need your support!

Given that many of these proposals will now appear on the ballot and be voted on at company annual meetings in 2024, we need a show of support. We are, therefore, coming to you again to ask you to add your name to a supporting statement (Notice of Exempt Solicitation) on three types of proposals: de-banking, tech censorship, and civil liberties/DEI. Notice of Exempt Solicitations (NES) are a standard tool which allows shareholders and other interested parties to register their opinion on upcoming issues at annual meetings.

Here’s how you can help.

• Did you already sign the initial petition? If so, we will automatically add your name to any NES we file at these companies. You do not need to do anything.

• If you signed the initial petition but prefer not to have your name on the NES, simply reply to this email to let us know by March 15th, 2024.

• If you haven’t signed yet, please do so now and we will include you in this NES.

Linked below are drafts of the three proposals we and our coalition partners have been in the process of submitting over the last few months. In addition, below is a table that shows at which companies these proposals have been submitted. If we file an NES at these companies, your name will be added to the list.  

Company management, ISS, Glass Lewis, and shareholders will be reviewing these supporting statements, and adding your support will significantly help our efforts to raise the overall vote on these resolutions and help change company policy. The impact of these resolutions and this work cannot be overstated. These companies are some of largest in the world, representing trillions in market capitalization.  

Thank you for supporting our efforts to de-politicize these corporations and help protect civil liberties for millions of workers and customers.

Resolutions Filed

De-Banking Resolution Draft

Workplace Civil Liberties/DEI Resolution Draft

Censorship Resolution Draft

Take a look

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*Advisory Services are offered through Inspire Investing, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC. All expressions of opinion are subject to change. This article is distributed for educational purposes, and it is not to be construed as an offer, solicitation, recommendation, or endorsement of any particular security, products, or services. Investors should talk to their financial advisor prior to making any investment decision.
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