A few days after SEC Chair Jay Clayton introduced proposed rule changes that would drastically curtail the rights of investors to file shareholder proposals on important environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns, CREDO Action, the advocacy arm of CREDO Mobile, posted an online petition opposing the new rules. The petition stated:
Tell SEC Commissioners: Shareholder resolutions are a crucial way for shareholders to hold corporations accountable. Changing SEC Rule 14a-8 would silence shareholder activism and protect big corporations from the consequences of their actions. Withdraw changes to SEC Rule 14a-8.
Within a few weeks, a total of 50,461 concerned citizens signed the petition – by far the largest public statement of opposition to this SEC action from any group or organization.
Bruce Herbert, Chief Executive of Investor Voice and Newground Social Investment, issued the following statement on February 3, 2020 – the SEC's deadline for public comments on the proposed rule change:
Shareholder engagement is a fundamental part of our work as financial advisors tasked by clients with meeting financial goals while maximizing positive financial, social, and environmental impacts. On behalf of clients, we echo this powerful statement from an online petition circulated by our friends at CREDO Action.
We at Newground and Investor Voice agree wholeheartedly with the 50,461 people who lent their good names to this petition.
Sadly, CREDO Action closed its doors in early January and the original online petition page is no longer accessible. However, because of the importance of this petition as a powerful public show of opposition to the SEC's action on the part of a large number of small investors, and with the consent of CREDO Mobile, we are posting the petition here to memorialize it for future reference.
Below is a copy of the email action alert CREDO Action sent out on November 20, 2019 promoting the petition:
Though the SEC's official public comment period ends February 3, 2020, it's not too late to make your voice heard – we've heard from sources inside the SEC that commissioners and staff will continue to read and consider comments submitted well after the deadline.
TAKE ACTION: To submit your own public comment in defense of shareholder rights, use this online petition from our friends at the As You Sow Foundation (which includes a customizable sample letter).