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In recent decades our financial markets have fundamentally changed. While the growth of passive investing has been beneficial for many Americans, it has also led to the disenfranchisement of retail investors who have lost the ability to voice their views about the companies they own.
Instead their shares are increasingly voted by professional money managers who may not have a stake in the funds they manage, but are able to exert huge control over America’s public companies. Too many use that influence to advance subjective agendas which sacrifice financial performance in favor of other goals.
The Main Street Investors Coalition believes that must stop. Research has shown again and again and again that retail investors overwhelming priority is to maximize the returns from their holdings. We believe that they share the same vision as the businesses they invest in – both are focused on building better, more profitable companies.
On this page we provide some more insight into the views of America’s Main Street investors. From our retail investor champion, Nan Bauroth, to firsthand perspectives about investor’s priorities, to research into the views of public pension members and ETF holders, to an academic analysis of the problem by Advisory Committee Chairman Bernie Sharfman, each have their own perspective but arrive at the same conclusion:
The priority of America’s Main Street investors is to maximize the value of their investments. At the Main Street Investors Coalition we will continue to advocate so they can do just that.
What They’re Saying (Retail Investors Page)
What They’re Saying
“The coalition believes it has common cause with the retail investor because it assumes that the overwhelming number of retail investors simply want to earn the highest risk-adjusted financial return possible. Correspondingly, it believes public pension fund beneficiaries want their trustees to participate in shareholder advocacy and voting for the same purpose.” Read More »
– Bernard Sharfman, Pensions & Investments
“I joined the Main Street Investors Coalition because I believe proxy advisory firms, large institutional investors and public pension funds are operating in ways that harm the financial well-being of millions of American retail investors like myself, and I am trying to serve as a voice for others who feel the same.” Read More »
– Nan Bauroth, Daily Caller
“Retail investors deserve a fix. Proxy firms like ISS and Glass Lewis owe businesses and investors alike the common courtesy to practice what they preach when it comes to fairness and transparency. The SEC should consider ways to address what has become a critical failing in our “trust but verify” system.” Read More »
– Sean DiSomma, Real Clear Markets
“What we are asking for is an open and fair process. For example, some of our seniors are under the false impression that fund managers are obligated to invest their money and vote on proposals that will maximize their returns for retirement. However, once an individual investor has made the decision to invest in a mutual fund, they forfeit their vote on individual stocks and rely on the entity managing their investment to represent their best interest.” Read More »
– James L. Martin, SEC Comment Docket
“I am concerned about my retirement 401(k) and mutual funds. I fear fund managers are using my money for their self-interest projects and not investing in my best interests. I’m set to retire in a few years and want to protext the investments I have built and saved for my entire adult life.” Read More »
– Linda Yasinsac, SEC Comment Docket
“Public pension plans should make investment decisions that will deliver the greatest return on investments and ensure that pensioners can receive the
benefits promised for a lifetime of work. As fiduciaries, the leaders of public pension plans must make decisions that are not always popular. Retirement plans must control risk through sound investment policy, prudent stewardship and long-term financial gain.” Read More »
– Karen Shore, SEC Comment Docket
Exile of Main Street: Providing a Voice to Retail Investors on the Proxy Advisory Industry
April 2, 2019 | Main Street Coalition
A majority of investors are unaware that proxy voting is rife with controversy. Conflicts of interest, robo-voting and transparency are issues shareholders and corporations have with the proxy advisory companies that make recommendations to investors. This Spectrem study explains the concerns investors and shareholders have regarding the proxy process and details those circumstances where investors would encourage increased SEC oversight of proxy advisory companies.
Study Finds Only a Quarter of Investors Believe ESG Investments Could Provide Greater Returns
July 13, 2018 | Main Street Coalition
Individual investors have little interest in, and understanding of, “socially responsible” investing, according to a new report from investment industry research firm Spectrem Group which shows that only 25 percent believe that these investments could provide a greater return than other products.
Investors Choose Exchange Traded Funds for Low Fees, Not to Promote Social Causes
May 8, 2018 | Main Street Coalition
Research into the views of ETF holders by the Main Street Investors Coalition finds a disparity between what the actual investors want and how some large institutional investors are using their funds that is potentially problematic.
Majority of retail investors back new regs on corporate advisory firms: Study
April 2, 2019 | Fox Business
Companies Call for Oversight of Firms That Advise Shareholders
March 19, 2019 | Wall Street Journal
Proxy Advisory Firm Work Looms Large for SEC’s Roisman
March 12, 2019 | Bloomberg Law