Unlike university endowments and public pension systems, most individual investors do not, of course, own millions of shares in companies. In this day of intense competition, however, companies vigilantly seek to safeguard their reputations. Accordingly, every investor – and his or her willingness to invest in publicly traded companies — matters.
As of today, not one retail brokerage service in this country makes available to clients data on corporate ties to terrorist-sponsoring states. Not Schwab. Not Merrill Lynch. Not E-Trade. Not any of the on-line brokers. That must change.
Information is the cornerstone of our free market system. But, past experience suggests that these retail brokerages do not want you to know which companies are effectively enabling terror.
Consequently, the first objective of individual investors is to threaten to take your business elsewhere if your broker or portfolio manager wonâ€™t provide a list of such companies.
When you do get information about any company doing business with terror-sponsoring regimes that you hold in portfolio, write its management explaining that you are divesting its stock and will not consider holding it in the future as long as its does business with countries that are state-sponsors of terror.
Ensure that your voice is heard. Let the local media, as well as the companies involved, know that you plan actively to recruit others to join you in the financial war on terror by divesting their stock, as well.
Send this draft letter to your financial planner, portfolio manager, 401(K) administrator or broker: Demand to know the names of public companies with operations in terrorist-sponsoring states.
Dear [INSERT NAME OF FINANCIAL PLANNER, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, 401(k) ADMINISTRATOR OR BROKERATE FIRM PRESIDENT OR REPRESENTATIVE],
As you may be aware, a report recently released by the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC, entitled Terrorism Investments of the 50 States, found that some 400 public companies have business operations in or with countries that sponsor terrorism. These companies provide such governments with billions of dollars in annual revenues, political cover and, in many cases, advanced equipment and technology. You can view this report at www.DivestTerror.org.
At a time when our country is waging war against terrorism, I am deeply concerned that my retirement dollars may be going to companies whose business operations pave the way for terrorist-sponsoring states to provide funding, technology and safe harbor to terrorists. Companies that do business with these governments send a clear signal that their support for terrorism is not a concern as long as there are corporate profits to be made. I will not allow my investments to condone this type of “business as usual” corporate policy.
Regrettably, after reviewing your firm’s website, I have determined that you do not provide a list to investors such as myself of companies that have such business operations. I consider knowing which companies are undermining our nation’s attempt to defeat terrorism to be of the utmost importance. Accordingly, I ask that your provide me with a list of such companies in my portfolio – including a synopsis of their specific activities in terrorist-sponsoring states – so that I may avoid such investments and/or choose mutual funds or similar indices that do not include these companies.
If you are unable or unwilling to provide this list, I will move my account to a vendor that is more respecting of my concerns.