Made In The U.S.A.

Does Fidelity Favor Genocide?

In Adventures on June 27, 2009 at 12:39 am

I received one of those Proxy Vote thingies from Fidelity last week. I have guilt, so I always send them in whether it’s necessary or not. Nine times out of ten I simply enter my ID numbers and click to VOTE MY SHARES WITH THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS. I usually agree with their suggestions by default.

This time, though, something caught my eye. It was a resolution to ensure that these particular funds would not invest in businesses that the board of directors deem to be human rights violators. The language that caught my eye was that the board of directors still gets to decide if these companies are essentially good guys or bad guys, so they would still have the power. Yet the board’s recommendation was still to vote the thing down.

I voted for it.

Shareholder proposal… concerning procedures to prevent holding investments in companies that, in the judgment of the Board, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity.

Not exactly subtle. Substantially contribute to genocide? It seems to me that if we aren’t willing to not invest in companies that “substantially contribute to genocide” we probably shouldn’t concern ourselves with organic vegetables and fair trade coffee and saving the whales.

And it turns out that there’s a whole mission to eliminate investing in evil. So it’s not just me.

I’m glad I noticed.

I only wish the board of Fidelity would have done the right thing in the first place. But I guess they’d probably argue that they did–they did the right thing in terms of making money for their investors. But we all know that’s different from “the right thing.”



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