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Application of new technologies to aggregate and support student interests in corporate policies

 

For previous reports of new ventures offering support of retail investor issue advocacy, including the highly publicized Say Inc. affiliate of the Acorns micro investing venture, see

 

Source: TheCorporateCounsel.net, March 5, 2019 posting

 

 

March 5, 2019


ESG Activism: “I Am Retail – Hear Me Roar!”

Big institutional holders seldom have trouble getting management’s ear – but traditionally, retail investors who weren’t willing to play the gadfly game could usually count on a polite brush-off from the IR department. Now, it looks like that situation may be changing. Broc recently blogged about SAY, a New York-based tech startup that provided a platform for retail investors to vote on questions to ask Elon Musk during a recent Tesla earnings call.  But SAY’s not the only entity that’s trying to help retail investors be heard on matters that concern them. Check out ‘Stake’ – which aims to pair retail investors with a small group of socially responsible investment funds that will serve as “Champions” for their issues.

Stake provides a platform for retail shareholders to identify specific “Asks” that they want addressed by the companies in which they invest.  Once an ‘Ask’ gets a critical mass of support, this excerpt from Stake’s website lays out what happens next:

When an Ask reaches its support goal, one of Stake’s Champions will take that Ask directly to company management, advocating on behalf of all those that supported the Ask. Our Champions are experts at persuading companies to improve their social and environmental impact, and they are already connected to the corporate decision-makers. Stake is a tool like none before. By connecting you with a professional Champion, your voice reaches the boardroom.

Investors who supported the specific “Ask” receive progress updates on the company’s response to it.  Stake’s founders are themselves climate change activists & companies have implemented a number of the Asks that Stake’s allied funds championed.

I know it’s easy to be skeptical of efforts like these – and I have my doubts about how much traction Stake’s going to be able to get. But I’m also reminded that it only took David one stone to take down Goliath, & these folks have the potential to muster a lot more firepower than that.

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