VEA Vice Chair Nell Minow is quoted in the New York Times Dealbook expose of the dark money Main Street Investors Coalition:
Why would the Main Street Investors Coalition want to do this? Because it should probably be called the National Association of Manufacturers — after all, that’s the name of the industry group that helped start it and is among its largest funders. (Clearly, “National Association of Manufacturers” wouldn’t sound as good to the man on the street.)
Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a sustainability nonprofit organization, described the Main Street Investors Coalition as “a thinly veiled effort to protect those corporations that are unwilling and unprepared to adapt to a changing world — worsening risks for their employees and investors alike.”
Among the organization’s goals is a way for retail investors to provide voting instructions to the firms that hold their investments. In effect, rather than voting on behalf of all the investors in a given fund, BlackRock would have to parcel out the votes based on each investor’s wishes. That sounds good theoretically, but it could erode the ability of the fund’s managers to push for big-picture changes on behalf of the many investors who are unlikely to take a position — or, frankly, aren’t steeped enough in the issues to make an informed decision.
Nell Minow, a longtime advocate for retail investors and a corporate governance expert who originally brought the group to my attention, wrote in a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the group illustrated how companies were using shareholder money to fight shareholder interests.
“This is yet another reason that we need more transparency on political and lobbying expenditures, especially dark money,” wrote Ms. Minow, who is the vice chairwoman of ValueEdge Advisors.