Voya FinancialInc. said in a definitive proxy statement filed April 11 thatWilliam Rosenfeld plans to introduce at the May 26 annual shareholder meeting aproposal that would require the company to report on investments in companiestied to genocide.
Rosenfeld wants the board report to shareholders an analysisof how Voya Financial's published corporate values align with its policiesregarding investments in companies tied to genocide or crimes against humanity.Specifically, the shareholder wants the board to explain how the company'sinvestments in CNPC/PetroChina and Sinopec are consistent with its publishedcorporate values. The shareholder claims that CNPC, PetroChina's controllingparent and Sudan's largest oil partner, helps fund ongoing government-sponsoredgenocide and crimes against humanity. As Syria's largest oil partner, CNPC alsohelps fund its government's mass atrocities, according to the shareholder.
Rosenfeld pointed out that other large financial companieslike T. Rowe Price GroupInc. and TIAA have policies to avoid such investments.
Voya Financial's board recommended that shareholders voteagainst the proposal. The board claims that the proposal could create aconflict of interest for the company's investment adviser subsidiaries inhaving to choose between their fiduciary duty to their clients to exerciseinvestment discretion independently of the company and the socialresponsibility objectives of an individual shareholder in the company. Theboard also stated that the company has already incorporated human rightsconsiderations in its investment process and its business practices alreadyreflect its recognition and support for human rights protection.
Rosenfeld, owner of 500 common shares, a similar proposal in 2015 as well.