Fidelity, Vanguard statements re genocide
As of 1 September, 2009, the following are the most recent public statements by Fidelity Investments and Vanguard regarding holding securities in companies operating in Sudan:
Note to Fidelity Investors by Fidelity
"...We are sensitive to the ongoing tragedy occurring in Darfur and, like most others in the world, we are repulsed by genocide and all other crimes against humanity... we have concluded that when it is appropriate to remain actively invested in a company, we will do so, thus retaining the ability to oppose company practices that we do not condone. This, in the long term, may have the greatest chance of ending those practices. There is the possibility that driving publicly traded companies out of Sudan may actually make the situation worse, exposing the region to state–owned companies or companies that are not traded on the world's exchanges and, therefore, not subject to any shareholder influence whatsoever."
Blood Money on Wall Street, [column] David Weidner, Wall Street Journal, 9 Jul 2009
"...Vanguard shareholders last week rejected a resolution sponsored by Investors Against Genocide, a Boston-based activist group, that would've required fund managers to follow strict guidelines about investing in companies linked to genocide around the globe... Vanguard fought the proposal, saying it had initiated its own policy in March... Vanguard spokesman Linda Wolohan said that the company made formal [in its policy] what was an informal process at the company. She said investors can look at their statements to find out if their funds invest in a company like Petrochina, but she said, it's not company policy to announce any divestment action if it makes one. "We don't take these issues lightly," she said. She added that singling out stocks would be problematic for Vanguard because of its investment strategy. Vanguard specializes in index funds that follow benchmarks that may include controversial issuers."
Some Plain Talk About Proxy Proposal 3 by Vanguard (response to shareholders' resolution 3 on genocide & crimes against humanity, which was voted on at the 2 Jul 2009 shareholders' meeting; text available on p. 30 of Vanguard's proxy statement [PDF])
"...Vanguard is often asked by shareholders to sell stocks for a variety of reasons—from environmental and social issues to humanitarian and political concerns. Our position, in general, is that we cannot manage our funds in a manner that would address all of these issues while fulfilling our fiduciary obligation to produce the highest possible investment returns for all shareholders... The holdings of PetroChina and CNPC in Vanguard’s funds are modest... Have the trustees instructed Vanguard to divest from PetroChina and CNPC? No. While the process is continuous, the trustees have determined that no companies have warranted divestment to date."