Is Your Money ‘Voting’ for Things You Don’t Believe In? Strive Lawyer Sounds Alarm

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Americans with investments in the “Big Three” financial companies—BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard—may see their money “voting” for things they don’t believe in, warns the top lawyer at Strive Asset Management, the firm founded by former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy.

“I think, for a long time, we’ve been really focused on, where is money in politics, right?” Alexandra Gaiser, the general counsel at Strive, tells “The Daily Signal Podcast” in an interview at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in February. “So, you have all sorts of campaign finance restrictions.”

“Unfortunately, that hasn’t covered Americans investments,” she notes. “Many Americans don’t realize that they’re voting every quarter for things they don’t believe in, because the proxy voting system is a duopoly. It’s controlled by ISS and Glass Lewis.”

Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass, Lewis & Co. vote on behalf of shareholders at company shareholder meetings, and they often support environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals from a left-leaning perspective.

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“Then, most Americans have their investments through one of the ‘Big Three,’ State Street, BlackRock, and Vanguard,” Gaiser adds.

She recalled Vanguard, where she has assets invested “from a past life,” giving her an option about how the company would vote on behalf of her shares.

She says she had four options: one openly ESG choice; an “I-agree-with-management” option, which would also tend to vote for ESG; one “sort of Vanguard-special-sauce option of like, just trust us,” which she also thinks would prioritize ESG; and the option to abstain.

“Nowhere was there an option to say, ‘Please vote in a way that we think is going to make you more money in the future, in the long run,’” Gaiser notes.

While some describe Strive as “anti-woke,” or “anti-ESG,” the company doesn’t describe itself that way, the lawyer notes. “We’d say we’re pro-shareholder,” focused on giving investors the best return for their money.

She describes some of the “cruel ironies” of the ESG movement, saying “a lot of these goals are really shortsighted.”

“What we see on carbon emissions goals is, often you’re punishing countries that have much cleaner burn methods, much cleaner energy, and getting them to reduce, reduce, reduce,” Gaiser explains. “It drives prices up, up, up, and countries like Russia and Venezuela, China, are not committed to these same goals. They’re polluting out the wazoo, and they become your main suppliers of energy.”

“Well, that can’t be good for the overall environment, right?” she asks.

Similarly, the Strive lawyer wonders why companies are so focused on skin-deep diversity for boardrooms when corporate boards don’t televise their meetings.

“You want a diversity of views, in terms of risk, corporate backgrounds. The experience people bring really does matter,” she says. “But it shouldn’t be what you look like in the mirror that determines your value to a corporate board.”

Gaiser says investments “shouldn’t be politicized.” Investing “should be a really boring sort of mathematical exercise.”

She agreed that the motto of Strive could be “Make Investment Boring Again.”

Listen to the full interview below.

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