US SIF Statement on House Approval of The Financial CHOICE Act
The legislation, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, will roll back key achievements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.Washington, D.C., June 8, 2017 - US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment issued the following statement in response to the passage of the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10) by the US House of Representatives. The legislation, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, will roll back key achievements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Said Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF, “Today $8.72 trillion dollars, more than one in five dollars of professionally managed assets in the United States, are engaged in sustainable, responsible and impact investing practices—a 33 percent increase since 2014, according to the US SIF Foundation's 2016 Report on Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends. These investors understand that the capital markets are most efficient when rules and regulations address systemic risk, allow for robust oversight of corporate directors and management, and provide access to information about the environmental and social policies, practices and performance of companies among other important priorities.
“The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act addressed the systemic risks that contributed to the financial crisis. The law helped protect hard working Americans from a repeat of the financial crisis and ensured a more transparent and accountable framework for investors and consumers.
“The Financial CHOICE Act will not rebuild confidence and trust in the U.S. markets. Instead it will tarnish the reputation of the US markets by rolling back systemic risk protections, killing effective regulations, imposing onerous hurdles for new regulations, starving market regulators of appropriate funding, shuttering market transparency and eviscerating the ability of most shareholders to file resolutions. The Senate should not take up this bill.”
The CHOICE Act will undermine the health and confidence in the markets by:
- Adding unnecessary and burdensome processes to an already cumbersome rulemaking process and damaging the independent structure of regulatory agencies by requiring major rules to be approved by both chambers of Congress.
- Disenfranchising all but the very largest institutional investors by raising the amount of stock needed to file a shareholder resolution from $2,000 to holding at least 1% of a company's stock – halting the extraordinary progress—including more independent and diverse boards, enhanced disclosure practices, and stronger investor rights and protections—that have resulted from shareholder engagement.
- Rolling back effective disclosure rules including conflict minerals and pay ratio disclosure that address issues of potentially material risks to companies and their shareholders and which warrant the sunlight of disclosure.
- Repealing or weakening key corporate governance reforms including revoking the SEC's authority to adopt a proxy access rule, and rolling back the say-on-pay vote – a direction which is inconsistent with the clear preferences of companies and investors.
- Weakening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created in the wake of the financial crisis to fight on behalf of American consumers, protecting them from predatory lending and ensuring that all Americans have adequate access to capital to start small businesses and buy homes.
The Financial CHOICE Act is simply a bad choice for America.
US SIF's detailed concerns with the CHOICE Act can be found in our letter to the House.
About US SIF
US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the leading voice advancing sustainable, responsible and impact investing across all asset classes. Our mission is to rapidly shift investment practices towards sustainability, focusing on long-term investment and the generation of positive social and environmental impacts. US SIF members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, community investing organizations, nonprofit associations, and pension funds, foundations and other asset owners. Learn more at www.ussif.org.