Subject: Comment on File Number S7-22-19
From: Patrick Walker

Feb. 1, 2020

Ms. Vanessa Countryman, Secretary
Securities and Exchange Commission 
100 F Street NE 
Washington, DC 20549-1090 
Re: File Number S7-22-19
Dear Secretary Countryman:

I’ve come to understand there is an urgent issue coming before the Securities and Exchange Commission, and I intend to officially submit my comments for your review. I have been a public employee in the state of Pennsylvania, Mt. Lebanon Township, for more than two decades, and have been proud to do it. One of the many reasons this job has been rewarding has been the knowledge that my retirement will be secure, as I participate in the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System, also known as PMRS. I have grown concerned as I draw closer to my retirement years, which are now only a few years away, as I keep reading news stories about public pensions moving away from perfectly profitable investments for purely political reasons. This is unacceptable. 
As a public employee, I’ve pretty much trained myself at this point to divorce my politics from my work. I’ve served under leaders from both ends of the political spectrum, and it has not impacted my work one bit. So, I find it disturbing that a handful of proxy advisory firms are allowed to impose their political ideals on something as vitally important as the retirement investments of millions of people. The fact is that there is only one consideration I take into account when making investment decisions: is this company profitable? Will this investment generate long-term returns that will contribute to the health of my funds? That is it, and frankly that is the only thing that should matter.  

I’m quite certain the PMRS has invested in companies with whom I might disagree politically or morally. I’m not saying that corporations are angels who do no wrong, and we all have our own moral compass. Which is why, if I came across such a company in my own PRIVATE investment decisions, I might take a pass. But I would never stoop to inflict that decision on others without their input. It seems extremely suspicious that there are only two proxy advisory firms that are handling the majority of investment and divestment decisions for public pensions. Why should these two companies have so much power over my future?
As I mentioned, I’m just a few years from retirement. The last thing I need is for the PMRS to take a nosedive because of some politically motivated decision-making on behalf of the fund that I need to stay healthy to see me through my older years. I hope you keep this in mind when making any decisions on this matter. Thanks for the work you are doing to update this troubling system. 

Thank you,

Patrick Walker