Shareholders at JPMorgan Chase will vote on whether they want the global financial firm to avoid investments in companies with ties to genocide, according to Investors Against Genocide (IAG).
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently ruled against JPMorgan's "No Action" request to exclude the proposal from the ballot at their annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, on May 17. JPMorgan argued that the shareholders voting on the proposal would not fully understand its requirements.
IAG is a citizen-let initiative dedicated to convincing investment firms and mutual funds to divest their interests in companies tied to genocide.
The proposal submitted to JPMorgan by IAG, "requests that the board institute transparent procedures to prevent holding investments in companies that, in management's judgment, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity, the most egregious violations of human rights."
According to a release from IAG, the proposal is specifically targeting JPMorgan's approximately $1.3 billion of investments in PetroChina. IAG alleges that PetroChina's parent company, China National Petroleum Company, has helped fund the Government of Sudan's genocide in Darfur.
A recent market study showed that 88% of Americans would like their mutual funds to be genocide free, with that figure jumping to 95% for those earning $50,000 or more, according to AIG.
"Americans, once they become aware, do not want their pensions and family savings connected to genocide," states Eric Cohen, chairperson of IAG. "While financial institutions may oppose it, ordinary investors who see the proposal will vote their values and support genocide-free investing."
Similar proposals from IAG have appeared on the ballots of Fidelity, and Vanguard, but failed to receive majority votes. Additionally, IAG withdrew a proposal at TIAA-CREF when the company adopted a public policy against investments connected to genocide. American Funds has divested its holdings in PetroChina following a vote on genocide-free investing.
While IAG does not currently have a proposal on any other ballots, it says it continues to look at other corporations, and have identified Franklin Templeton as a potential proposal target.