The company, launched earlier this year by entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, will sell its Strive 500 exchange-traded fund (ETF) — a basket of shares meant to track the profits of the nation’s 500 largest companies — on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker STRV. The firm will use “proxy voting and shareholder engagement” to press portfolio companies to maximize “value over all other agendas,” according to a statement from Strive obtained by The Daily Wire.
“Our message to America’s largest companies is simple: focus on your mission, not someone else’s social agenda,” Ramaswamy explained. “Hire talent based on merit over other social factors. We hope to drive positive change through our shareholder engagement.”
The approach appears to counter entities such as BlackRock and Vanguard, which compel portfolio companies to embrace the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement, which requires the adoption of objectives such as staff diversity quotas, renewable energy transitions, and other policies that mingle left-wing politics with profitability.
The company sent multiple shareholder letters to ask portfolio companies about their reasons for pursuing social agendas that appear to be unrelated to their business objectives.
“Over the past year, Disney has become embroiled in political controversies that have unquestionably damaged Disney’s brand,” Strive wrote to Disney in reference to parental rights legislation in Florida. “We ask a simple question: what risk-reward calculus justifies taking controversial political positions that risk derailing Disney’s otherwise strong economic prospects by alienating a majority of your customer base?”
Indeed, new domestic subscriptions for streaming service Disney+ slowed to a crawl in the quarter following Disney’s opposition to the bill. In an exclusive poll from The Daily Wire, 64% of Americans — including 62% of Democrats and 57% of independents — supported the Florida legislation, which prohibited students from kindergarten through third grade from learning about sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom.
In a similar letter, Strive questioned a “racial equity audit” enacted by Apple. “Racial equity audits generally do not help the ‘audited’ companies: the publication of such reports often trigger more negative news, criticism, and boycotts of the company by certain consumers, while also alienating other consumers who disapprove of the company’s decision to conduct such an audit at all,” the message said. “Such reports may also fuel unwarranted government investigations, employee grievances and meritless discrimination claims.”
According to another exclusive poll from The Daily Wire released earlier this year, roughly 58% of investors said that executives enacting their own political agendas rather than maximizing profits is a “bad thing.” As Ramaswamy discussed on a recent episode of “The Search” with Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro, many investors are today recognizing that asset managers are encouraging left-wing social activism without accounting for any potential decline in firm performance.
While the pension funds of states such as California and New York still request certain political and social stipulations of their asset managers, officials from conservative states are likewise sounding the alarm over ESG and the risk it poses to their citizens’ way of life. Most recently, the government of Texas cut ties with BlackRock, UBS, and other firms that are hostile toward the oil industry “without an ordinary business purpose.”