Free Enterprise Project Introduces First-Ever Investor Toolkit

Style Magazine Newswire | 4/21/2020, 10 a.m.

In response to the liberal left's outsized influence over corporate proxy ballot matters, the Free Enterprise Project (FEP) today debuted its first annual Investor Value Voter Guide to educate investors who want to vote in line with conservative and religious values.

"We are so proud to launch our 2020 Investor Value Voter Guide. For far too long, the left has dominated discussions within the shareholder activism arena with little to no pushback. Now conservative and faith-based investors have the necessary information, backed by meticulous research, to make their voices heard in corporate America," said Justin Danhof, Esq., General Counsel and FEP Director at the National Center for Public Policy Research. "While the left has been tremendously successful at bringing corporate America into its lane, our Investor Value Voter Guide will empower the right with the confidence to engage as well."

In the guide, FEP reveals that many investors are disenfranchised from the proxy ballot voting process, and that many votes have become, in essence, rigged:

[M]any investment fund managers vote for proposals based on the recommendations issued by proxy advisory services. Thus many Americans who invest with a fund manager are two steps removed from the actual vote.

How does this specifically harm conservatives? The proxy advisory market is dominated by two firms ? Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis ? who control a combined 97 percent of the market and who consistently support liberal ESG proposals. The effect has been dramatic?

The result of this imbalance is that corporate decision makers are left with the impression that their public shareholders seek to promote liberal ESG initiatives and reject traditional values and ideals. Liberal shareholder activists know that you don't need to change a law to change the culture.

"The left is now trying to extend its long march through our institutions into corporate boardrooms. If it succeeds ? and it's having ominous success at some companies our corporations will have the sensibilities of left-wing media outlets and our workplaces will come to resemble liberal-arts campuses," said Scott Shepard, FEP's Program Coordinator. "FEP's fight is to stop this effort cold, and to reverse it where necessary. We should all be able to work, shop and invest in any publicly traded companies without running headlong into the buzzsaw of angry politics that already corrupts so much of modern life.

"The phrase 'get woke, go broke' is becoming a truism because of how often it plays out. We're working to keep American public corporations from doing the former so they can avoid the latter," added Shepard.

Two recent developments make the inauguration of the Investor Value Voter Guide particularly timely. The first is the Business Roundtable's recent decision to embrace a "stakeholder model" of corporate stewardship rather than the standard shareholder-primacy model. The traditional shareholder model aligns the interests of a company's management and its shareholder owners by focusing on running the company for the benefit of its owners. As Danhof explainedlast year in The Hill, the proposed new stakeholder model fundamentally changes a company's priorities: