As proxy advisors continue to support left-wing policies, more and more organizations and individuals are starting to take notice – and stand up against these policies.
In October, Inspire Investing sent a letter to ISS and Glass Lewis, calling on the proxy advisors to provide equally accessible proxy voting alternatives for those who do not agree with ESG policies. The letter also urges ISS and Glass Lewis to support resolutions that ask companies to deliver on promises of transparency while prioritizing risk assessments on controversial issues.
Inspire pointed to a public perception of political bias in proxy advisory firms, citing various letters sent to the firms by attorneys general and state financial officers. The letter calls upon the firms to release a report on how they can adjust their proxy voting recommendations to avoid this bias – which poses significant reputational and regulatory risk.
As Inspire points out in its letter, ISS and Glass Lewis support disclosure and transparency when it comes to progressive causes like ESG, but they fail to provide equal support for transparency regarding concerns over bias against people of faith. Nor do they support disclosures concerning politicized de-banking, despite their general “history of favoring disclosure”.
Inspire pointed to the firms’ failure to support David Bahnsen’s 2023 resolution at JPMorgan Chase, citing this as a failure to account for the significant risk posed by politicized de-banking. Bahnsen’s resolution included a call for an internal investigation into concerns over the de-banking of former Ambassador Sam Brownback in 2022, as well as an invitation to participate in the 2024 Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index.
Ultimately, Inspire called on ISS and Glass Lewis to de-politicize their services by providing equal alternatives to ESG recommendations and by supporting equal transparency on similarly situated proposals.
You can sign Inspire’s letter here.