After his phenomenal success at boycotting Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham off the air by targeting her sponsors — her viewership has since spiked by 20% — boy wonder David Hogg has turned his attention to two investment firms: BlackRock and The Vanguard Group.
His reason for boycotting these two companies? They are, in his words, “two of the biggest investors in gun manufacturers.”
“When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen” read the tagline from an for the brokerage firm that was popular in the 1970s and ’80s. But will people accord the same respect to an 18-year-old whose credentials as a financial adviser are having survived a school shooting?
Probably not, but his threat was enough to get both companies to flinch. According Fox News:
Carolyn Wegemann, a spokeswoman for The Vanguard Group, told The Associated Press that 359 of the company’s 388 funds do not directly invest in the top three gun manufacturers: AOBC, VSTO and RGR.
Blackrock also said in a statement that it “regularly speaks” with gun manufacturers about how they are ensuring the safe, responsible use of their firearms.
In addition, Vanguard’s CEO Mortimer “Tim” Buckley said last fall “even those investors who claim interest in social-criteria investments have so far showed little inclination to actually buy funds that exclude classes of stock on environmental, social or governance grounds. ‘You are taking the social morals of some and imposing it on the people. You can never get them to agree,’ Buckley said at the time.”
So far none of the companies in which Vanguard has extensive holdings has spoken up, but it will be interesting to see what they have to say if and when they react. Here is a partial list of the companies in the firm’s 500 Index Fund and the size of Vanguard’s position in each: Facebook (42,465,902 shares), Coca-Cola (68,049,092 shares), Walt Disney Co. (26,652,125 shares).