The next major category of SRI, shareholder activism, is more promising than any form of screening.
What we do
Investor Voice develops and implements robust shareholder engagement strategies for public asset holders, mutual funds, money managers, foundations, endowments, and non-profits.
With or on behalf of clients, we develop and file shareholder proposals, engage with stakeholders and the press, negotiate with company management teams, and present proposals for votes at annual meetings of shareowners.
Investor Voice reports to clients on the process, opportunities, and accomplishments of the shareholder engagement done on their behalf. Investor Voice may be contracted for legal-impact and policy-level work such as participating in Amicus briefs, writing opinion pieces, and lobbying Congress or the SEC.
These shareholder engagement strategies are offered as a stand-alone service –unbundled from investment management or investment advisory products, services, or functions –which allows continued use of current money managers (if an asset holder) or current investment protocols and methods (if a portfolio manager).
For examples of this work, visit our Successes page.
Overview / Background
Shareholder engagement – or shareholder advocacy-activism – is often described as the third (or highest impact) leg of the 3-legged stool of social impact investment. The first leg is screening investments (avoiding certain types of companies or practices), the second is community investment or micro-credit lending (which provides capital access and essential banking services to underserved groups or regions), and the third leg is shareholder engagement.
Through engagement, shareholders use their rights as owners to directly advocate for improvements to company policies or practices – improvements that can benefit a company’s reputation & profitability, in addition to protecting the environment and better serving communities and people.
Active share owners have achieved an array of remarkably beneficial and enduring outcomes – from ending Apartheid in South Africa, to saving the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge from strip-mining, to ensuring human rights and fair treatment for people, to profitably reducing global pesticide use (for more details, see our Successes page).
These outcomes were achieved by shareholder engagement – filing shareholder proposals with publicly-traded companies.
The right to file a shareholder ~proposal is granted under Rule 14a-8 of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). By filing a proposal, a shareholder advocate uses their position as an owner of a company to open the boardroom door to ideas or voices that may not be routinely understood or entertained there.
This makes shareholder proposals a tremendously powerful tool to focus management’s attention on issues of importance to shareholders.
Who we serve
Investor Voice serves:
- Money managers & Investment advisors
- Mutual fund portfolio managers
- Endowments, Foundations & Donor Advised Funds
- High net worth Individuals and Family Offices
- Public trusts & Pension plans
- Non-profit organizations
Why shareholder engagement?
Shareholder engagement is a positive force – whether used to advocate for changes that embrace or enhance long-term value, or to avoid circumstances that create liabilities for a business or brand.
Clients typically approach Investor Voice from one of several perspectives:
- Some are already sustainability-focused and oriented toward aligning their investments with mission, but are keen to meaningfully extend their reach so as to have a more enduringly beneficial impact on the issues that concern them most.
- Other clients – perhaps feeling pressure from their own clients, donors, or principles to address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) concerns – find that shareholder engagement not only provides the greatest positive leverage, it does so without change to established relationships, nor (for investment advisors / mutual funds) altering how you calculate or report performance.
- Still others seek to expand their ability to serve growing markets of green or impact-concerned customers. Shareholder engagement offers the fastest way to enter new markets and to be seen as substantively committed – which is a critical litmus test for this increasingly sophisticated, loyal, and outcome-oriented segment.
For a deeper look at the uses and benefits of shareholder engagement, please visit our Benefits page.