Companies Told To Ignore Profits, Put Politics Ahead

According to a report, many businesses on Wall Street received passing ratings in a new assessment that evaluates whether or not they prioritized political considerations above customer finances.

The biggest asset manager in the world, BlackRock, was graded a “C” for its efforts. The colossal investment firm Vanguard received an excellent grade of “A.”  

The research provides insight into a pressing question—whether Americans’ pension money, retirement,  and other assets have been commandeered for political purposes, but it doesn’t go into sufficient detail to demonstrate this. 

Wall Street’s voting records on the year’s 50 most contentious environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues were analyzed by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity.

Companies are being pressured by “ESG” (environment, social justice, and governance) initiatives to eliminate their use of plastics, sell their oil and gas holdings, increase “diversity” in employment requirements, and implement “zero-carbon emission” plans.

The selected suggestions were picked for reasons unrelated to improving the bottom line of the business.

For instance, one has mandated a racial-equity investigation at Chevron on the grounds that the company’s funding of the Richmond police forces is a factor in police violence. One demanded that Chubb cease providing insurance to fossil fuel businesses.

The researchers then graded the asset managers according to their voting patterns.  

According to the report, State Street and Charles Schwab are only two of the many companies that received failing grades of D, F, or F-.  

As the writers point out, it is not only unethical but also unlawful to vote against the financial interests of one’s customers. Asset managers have a “fiduciary duty” to prioritize their customers’ interests above their own.  Investors have the right to sue asset managers who vote according to their own political inclinations.  

BlackRock votes on executive remuneration at hundreds of firms, typically tying CEO pay to ESG objectives.

BlackRock and Vanguard chose executives like Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and former Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who prioritize social causes above shareholder profit. 

In 2022, it boasted that it ousted 936 directors for inadequate diversity and 176 for climate concerns.