Shareholder Action

Shareholder Action

Dec 3, 2013

Put Your Money Where My Mouth is…   No I am not hitting on you; nor do I have an peculiar pallet for coins; rather, I am writing this blog to share an advocate strategy that I have recently learned about. It is called shareholder action and it is awesome. Granted, you do have to have some capital to begin this process, but if you put in the time you can make a big difference. Essentially shareholder action is when an investor, by virtue of their position as a shareholder, influences the company to pursue positive policies in their approach to social and environmental issues. A person that invests in a mutual fund will: Own a portion of that mutual fund; Their mutual fund will own shares in companies; Therefore, indirectly, that person owns shares in those companies and is, to some degree, responsible for its actions and activities. Influencing change within the company may occur in the following ways: Engaging management in a dialogue Increasing corporate understanding of social issues Working with companies that indicate a willingness to change Voting shares in alignment with positive policies and practices In Toronto you can partake in this by selecting a SRI fund or socially responsible investment portfolio from your bank. Unfortunately like most occasions when you try to do something good with money you usually have a horde of greedy bankers and fund managers selling you bullshit packages that do nothing for the greater good. My best advice: Credit Union. They’re significant less evil than traditional banks, they’re membership based, many are non-profits and a lot of them specialize in social capital. To put it simply when a bank creates a mutual fund package they include companies that help their bottom line: profits. Credit Unions are far less susceptible to this insider corruption because they are a member based co-operative (essentially if you’re a member; you own a piece of that bank) and you don’t care if Exxon gives the CEO of your bank a cut of their income. My Experience with RBC A while back I walked into RBC with a chunk of change and asked my fund manager for “one socially responsible investment package please...