February 2, 2020
February 1, 2020
Secretary Vanessa Countryman
Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20549
Re: File Number S7-22-19
Dear Sec. Countryman,
As a former child care provider, I now rely on my 401(k) as the primary source of my retirement income. Having worked hard to build a sustainable retirement account over the years, I am appalled by the actions of some charged with protecting and growing my investments. For that reason, I was heartened to hear that the SEC Is considering new rules that produce greater requirements for proxy advisory firms that provide investment recommendations to investment funds.
I urge you to move forward with these changes as expeditiously as possible to protect and secure the investments and retirement futures of Americans like me.
Most people with 401(k)s, pensions, or other investment accounts have probably never heard of proxy advisory firms. Yet these companies have a significant amount of power and control over the investment strategies that determine the financial strength and security of their investments. Given their sizeable influence, one would think that the recommendations they provide to investment and pension funds would be based on what would best grow investments however, that is far from the case.
These firms seem to be more driven by their viewpoints on certain political and social issues rather than what will yield the greatest ROI for investors. Whats worse, these firms aren't even required to disclose potential conflicts of interests that might influence them or prevent them from providing sound financial advice. This has a serious, negative impact on the financial wellbeing of investment, retirement, and pension accounts.
Put simply, political and social issues should not be factored in the recommendations on proxy proposals. If individuals wish to direct their own investments based on these factors, then that is one thing. But for proxy advisors to simply assume control over others hard-earned money by advising investment strategies based on the issues they support or oppose—now that is going too far.
As a retiree, I assume those that manage my 401(k) are making decisions based on what will most grow my investments—and that is how it should be. Please continue working to hold these proxy advisors more accountable for the recommendations they provide and the investors they are purported to represent.
Thank you again for your attention to this matter.