Memo to money managers: A new market research study reveals that 88 percent of Americans would like their mutual funds to be genocide-free. For those earning $50,000 or more, that percentage climbs to 95 percent.
This news is significant to both financial advisors and consumers of financial products according to Investors Against Genocide, or IAG, which has authored a new white paper to highlight the level of consumer interest in genocide-free investing and the new genocide-free options that are available. IAG is running ads with Investment News that also target the investment advisor community.
As the white paper details, the investment landscape has changed dramatically over the last six months as leading mutual fund companies, after engagement with IAG, have decided to offer clear, mainstream alternatives for Americans who wish to keep their savings genocide-free. As the papers states, “Investors Against Genocide commends American Funds and TIAA-CREF for demonstrating a commitment to genocide-free investing and selling their holdings with ties to the genocide in Darfur.” The positive steps taken by American Funds and TIAA-CREF stand in stark contrast to Vanguard, Fidelity, and Franklin Templeton for making no commitment and continuing to hold large investments in companies, such as PetroChina, linked to the genocide.
Investors Against Genocide is leading a national initiative to convince mutual funds to avoid investing in companies that contribute to genocide and has coordinated the submission of shareholder proposals to many mutual funds asking them to take action “to prevent holding investments in companies” that “substantially contribute to genocide.” The proposals do not need to be approved in order to be successful. Rather, we at IAG hope to begin a dialog with investment companies and increase public awareness of this issue. Over time, we are confident that consumer interest will fuel the market for genocide-free investing and bring about dramatic changes in the industry.
There are many ways for individuals who care about the issue to get involved in supporting the movement toward genocide-free investing: 1) If you have a financial advisor, please send them a copy of the white paper and set up a meeting to discuss whether genocide-free investment options may be right for you; 2) Volunteer to submit a shareholder proposal if you own $2,000 worth of a mutual fund that has not committed to genocide-free investing; 3) Whether or not you have personal investments, make your voice heard as a potential consumer and ask leading mutual fund firms to become genocide-free; 4 ) Sign up for the IAG mailing list to stay abreast of campaign developments and other ways to get involved.
Susan Morgan is the director of communications for Boston-based Investors Against Genocide.