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投资理财

部分投资者为何拒绝买进沃尔玛股票

Lucinda Shen 2018年03月18日

很少有人知道,沃尔玛是美国最大的枪支零售商。

今年2月佛罗里达州帕克兰高中枪击案造成17人丧生后,沃尔玛、克罗格和Dick’s Sporting Goods等枪支零售商都加大了枪支销售限制力度。

在关于控枪的争论声中,Dick’s Sporting Goods停止了攻击性武器的销售,作为美国最大零售商的沃尔玛也将购枪最低年龄提高到了21岁。

对于沃尔玛这样的公司而言,虽然更为人所知的是开学季商品和低价格,但仍可能会让一批不断壮大的投资者敬而远之,原因就在于它也是美国最大的枪支零售商,而这个投资者群体是基于环境、社会和治理(ESG)原则做出选择的基金。

Parnassus Investment做出最终投资决策的基础就是ESG原则。该公司ESG分析师伊亚苏•埃萨亚斯说,他们“不投资通过枪支获得大量收入的公司,或者有悖于(我们ESG)精神原则的公司。这是我们避开沃尔玛的原因之一。”

Parnassus Investment投资决策的第一步是判断一家公司的估值和经营业绩能否通过测试。随后按ESG标准对目标公司进行检验。埃萨亚斯说,尽管沃尔玛的收入达到4859亿美元,但它一直未出现在Parnassus Investment的证券投资中。同时,虽然很难断定沃尔玛就是美国最大的枪支销售商,因为它没有分别披露过弹药和枪支的销售数据,但在第二轮评判中,“枪王”的名号让沃尔玛很难受到青睐。

Parnassus Investment销售和营销主管乔•辛哈说:“ESG这个概念包含许多因素。但沃尔玛是最大的[美国枪支销售商]可能会让我们将其排除在外,因为这样的事实对这个品牌来说非常不利,对我们的股东持有沃尔玛股票而言也非常不好。因此我们不会考虑它。”

与此同时,越来越多的共同基金和指数基金看来都不再袖手旁观。尽管身为大股东之一,但此前这些基金基本上都不会插手持股公司的经营事务。

对于是否和沃尔玛有联系的问题,第二大机构股东道富集团在一份声明中表示:“我们将和武器制造商以及经销商沟通,目的是提高其透明度,从而使它们为安全并负责任地使用其产品提供支持。我们还会设法确保:任何用于影响立法和法规以及为其他倡议活动提供资金的股东资源和沃尔玛的公开态度保持一致。”

作为沃尔玛大股东之一,贝莱德也发表了类似声明,称他们将和武器制造商及经销商进行沟通。

贝莱德的声明称:“有客户希望把武器制造商以及其他不符合其价值观的公司排除在证券投资之外,我们正在和这些客户一同努力。目前我们为客户管理的资产中,有超过2000亿美元资产属于此类投资。”

这些巨无霸型投资公司以往不插手经营的做法符合逻辑。沃尔玛等公司纳入股市指数的原因是这些指数产品意在为整体经济或某个行业建立模型。因此,和维权投资者的情况不同,指数基金经理一般不会挑选所持的股票。

就像沃尔玛的另一位股东解释的那样:“长期以来我们的政策一直是不对个股发表评论。先锋集团持有任何公司股票的原因是我们需要实现自身基金的整体投资目标。举例来说,先锋标普500指数基金的投资目标是复制标普500指数,因此该基金的全部、或几乎全部资产都由标普500指数成份股组成,而且每只股票在该基金中的占比都接近它在标普500指数中的权重。”

对于为什么要卖武器的问题,沃尔玛表示这样的决定源于消费者的需求。沃尔玛已经停售部分攻击性武器,比如2015年拉斯维加斯枪击案中罪犯使用的AR-15自动步枪。

沃尔玛发言人兰迪•哈格罗夫表示:“受消费需求影响,我们把焦点重新放在了打猎和竞技上。”

此外,沃尔玛在和投资者进行沟通时指出,它在武器销售方面自行设置了一些限制条件。

哈格罗夫:“我们的做法旨在强调我们对自身责任是多么的认真。”他还说沃尔玛无法就与股东的具体沟通内容发表评论,“我们所做的已经远远超过了法律的要求”。

除了提高购枪年龄,沃尔玛还给买枪过程录像,特别是对枪支销售人员的培训。该公司还在设法追踪那些可能为没有资格持枪的人买枪的消费者。

目前社会意识投资占比仍较低,但其比重正在上升。麦肯锡去年10月的一项研究显示,2016年ESG占亚洲、澳大利亚、加拿大、欧洲、新西兰和美国机构投资者管理资产的26%,规模约为23万亿美元。

但华盛顿智囊机构Urban Institute指出,就阻止枪械犯罪而言,增加枪支销售限制,甚至零售商停止售枪或许并不够。加大限制力度或决定不再销售枪支后,其他不那么自律的零售商就会填补沃尔玛留下的空白。

Urban Institute副总裁兼司法政策中心主管南希•拉维格尼说:“我觉得任何单一改变都不会真的缓解美国的枪支暴力问题。这需要多管齐下,包括限制大威力枪支,从立法上针对滥用枪支的人拿出解决方案以及在枪支暴力频发的社区开展工作。”(龙8国际|官网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Since the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. killed 17 in February, gun retailers includingWalmart, Kroger, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have ramped up restrictions on firearm sales.

Amid a debate about the weapons regulations, Dick’s ended sales of assault-style weapons, while the country’s largest retailer, Walmart, raised the minimum age of such purchases to 21.

Yet, firms like Walmart—better known for its back-to-school supplies and low prices—may still be keeping a growing class of investors at bay with its reputation as the country’s largest gun retailer: funds that choose based on environmental, social, and governance principles (ESG).

Parnassus Investment, which makes its final investment decisions based on ESG principals, does not “invest in companies that derive a significant amount of revenue from guns, or companies that break the spirit (of our ESG) principals,” said Iyassu Essayas, an ESG analyst for the firm. “That’s one of the reasons we strayed away from Walmart.”

Parnassus decides on investments by first determining whether a company’s valuation and financials pass the test. Then, the candidate goes through an ESG filter. Walmart has yet to show up in the firm’s portfolio so far, says Essayas, even with its $485.9 billion in revenue. And though it’s hard to say for certain whether Walmart is indeed the largest firearms seller—the company does not offer a break down of ammunition and gun sales—its “gun king” moniker is a hard sell in round two.

“This notion of ESG has many, many factors. But the fact that Walmart is the biggest [U.S. gun seller] would probably cause us to exclude it because it would be so bad for the brand, and for our shareholders to own it—so we would exclude it,” said Parnassus’ Director of Sales and Marketing, Joe Sinha.

That comes as an increasing number of mutual and index funds, which have largely avoided interfering in the operations of their holdings despite often ranking among companies’ largest holders, appear to be moving out of the sidelines.

“We will be engaging with weapons manufacturers and distributors to seek greater transparency from them on the ways that they will support the safe and responsible use of their products,” State Street, Walmart’s second largest institutional shareholder, said in a statement when asked whether they were in contact with the retailer. “And we will also seek to ensure that any shareholder resources used to influence legislation and regulations or fund other advocacy efforts is consistent with the company’s public views.”

BlackRock, also among Walmart’s largest holders, released a similar statement, saying they would talk with weapons manufacturers and distributors.

“We are working with clients who want to exclude from their portfolios weapons manufacturers or other companies that don’t align with their values,” the company said in a statement. “We currently have more than $200 billion in assets under management for clients in these types of portfolios.”

Such investing titans do have a logic behind this historical non-interference. Companies such as Walmart are included in indexes because such products seek to model the larger economy or an industry. So unlike in the case of activist investors, index funds managers don’t generally pick their holdings.

As another Walmart holder explains, “We have a longstanding policy where we don’t comment on individual securities. Vanguard’s stake in any company is due to our need to meet our funds’ broader investment objectives. For example, our Vanguard S&P 500 Index Fund’s investment objective is to replicate the S&P 500 Index, so the fund includes all, or substantially all, of its assets in the stocks that make up the index, holding each stock in approximately the same proportion as its weighting in the index.”

When asked about why the company sells firearms, Walmart, which ended the sale of assault-type weapons like the AR-15 used in Las Vegas back in 2015, says its decision is due to consumer demand.

“We refocused on hunting and sport, driven by customer demand,” said Randy Hargrove, a spokesperson for Walmart.

In conversation with its investors, meanwhile, Walmart has pointed to its self-imposed restrictions on firearm sales.

“Our approach is to highlight how we take our responsibility seriously,” Hargrove said, adding that the company cannot comment on specific chats with its holders. “What we do greatly exceeds what is required by law.”

Aside from increased age restrictions, Walmart also films transactions, and specially trains those behind the guns desk. The company also seeks to keep track of customers who might be buying for others that may not be eligible for owning firearms.

That comes as socially conscious investing remains a small, but growing, size of the pie. According to an October McKinsey study, ESG accounted for 26%, or about $23 trillion, of assets managed by institutional investors in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and the U.S. in 2016.

Still, says the Urban Institute, increasing restrictions and even ending gun sales on the part of the retailers may not be enough when it comes to stopping crime stemming from firearms. Other, less restrictive retailers fill in the void Walmart leaves behind as it increases restrictions or should it decide to stop selling guns.

“I don’t think any one change is going to really make a dent in the gun violence problem in the U.S.,” said Nancy La Vigne, vice president and director of the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute. “It’s going to take a combination of efforts, including restricting high power firearms, legislative solutions on people who are misusing firearms, and working in high gun violence communities.”

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