February 12, 2018
This is our hub for the Mainstreet Investors Coalition, which aims to equip average Americans with the data, information and support they need to defend their retirement savings.
There are more than 54 million Americans invested in 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts, who collectively account for more the $12 trillion in investable assets. Their needs are more important than ever. This point was not lost on SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, who in a speech to the Economic Club of New York in 2017 said the number one mission of the SEC is “to protect investors” and preserve the “long-term interests of the Main Street investor.”
There’s no doubt this investor community has size, but at present lacks the voice and influence it deserves. This, we believe, is because every day Americans lack the information they need to truly engage those that are supposed to be looking out for their best interests, and the mechanisms to hold them accountable.
For example, recent research from the Spectrem Group illustrated that the California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) and New York City’s pension fund system have both systematically prioritized environmental and social objectives to the detriment of retirees and taxpayers. In fact, CalPERS is only 68.1 percent funded, while New York City Pension Funds are in an even worse position at 62 percent, leading to billions in additional taxpayer contributions to the pension fund over the next decade. Instead of addressing the deficit, fund management has been more concerned with advancing political and environmental initiatives.
Alarmingly this agenda has never been formally approved by the members of these pensions. In fact, when surveyed, 86 percent and 79 percent of CalPERS and NYC pension funds’ members respectively want their fund management to prioritize returns over politics.
The same holds true for retirees with money invested in 401(k) and IRA plans, where many investment firms offering so-called passive investment options are using their influence to advance environmental and social proposals at major, publicly-traded companies with little regard for how those actions will impact shareholder returns.
That’s where we come in. We want to make sure that Main Street investors know exactly how their money is being used by institutional investment firms and pension fund managers. We want to ensure that Main Street investors have the means to advocate on their own behalf, change policies they don’t agree with and ensure their financial well-being is protected first and foremost.
We’re excited to launch this Coalition to arm investors with the facts they need to truly understand how their money is being used and to ensure their voice is heard. We look forward to continuing this conversation around securing the retirements of millions of Americans.