Subject: S7-22-19
From: Michael Hietpas

Feb. 3, 2020


Dear Secretary Countryman: 

I am currently working in the medical device industry to build up my savings and investment accounts so I can secure a financially strong future for myself and the family I intend to support. That is why the actions and behavior of certain proxy advisory firms have raised some serious concerns for me. I am glad to see the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) looking into these matters.

As you are no doubt aware, proxy advisory firms are hired by investment and pension funds to provide recommendations on proxy proposals and offer advice to investment fund managers on how to vote on those recommendations. Given that, you would think that the recommendations and advice they provide would be aimed at maximizing returns on investment. However, as has become clear in recent years, it seems proxy advisors have an altogether different strategy in mind.

More and more, proxy advisory firms are shirking their fiduciary responsibility and, instead of providing sound financial advice, making recommendations driven by a range of political causes. Making matters worse, these firms often have conflicts of interest that they are not even required to disclose. This is not how I want to see my hard-earned money managed.

I have no issue with anyone investing to support their own personal agenda or support causes in which they believe. However, I find it extremely inappropriate for these proxy advisory firms to take it upon themselves to use other people’s money in order to support their own causes. They should be prioritizing the interests of their clients, which are ultimately investors and pensioners.

I hope the SEC follows through with its proposed changes that the SEC has outlined with regard to proxy advisory firms. It is time these companies are held to a higher standard of accountability and transparency.


Michael Hietpas