Wall Street has more questions on guns
More Wall Street money managers are asking questions about guns.
State Street, a top shareholder in gunmakers Sturm Ruger, American Outdoor Brands and Vista Outdoor, wants to know how the companies “will support the safe and responsible use of their products.”
“We will be engaging with weapons manufacturers and distributors to seek greater transparency,” spokesman Andrew Hopkins said in an email Monday. State Street also plans to watch the companies’ lobbying efforts.
Blackstone, another investment firm, wrote to about a dozen hedge fund managers over the weekend asking for information on their stakes in gun manufacturers and distributors. The Wall Street Journal first reported the request on Sunday.
“We believe we have next to no direct exposure to the firearms industry, but it’s not surprising that we would want to confirm,” a Blackstone spokeswoman said in an email.
And Bank of America plans to “engage the limited number of clients we have that manufacture assault weapons for non-military use to understand what they can contribute to this shared responsibility,” the company said Saturday.
Investment managers and Corporate America are facing intense pressure to act on gun safety since the Florida school shooting on February 14. More than a dozen companies have ended partnerships with the NRA, including Delta, United Airlines, Hertz and MetLife.
It’s not clear whether the companies will divest from gun stocks once they complete their reviews.
Last week, BlackRock, the largest shareholder in Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands, said that it would be “engaging with weapons manufacturers and distributors to understand their response to recent events.”
BlackRock sells investments that track entire stock indexes, so it can’t choose to divest only one or two of those companies.
Vanguard, the second largest owner of Sturm Ruger and the third largest owners of American Outdoor Brands, declined to specify how it was dealing with gun makers, but the investment firm said it actively reviews companies’ risk disclosures.
“Vanguard is committed to engaging with portfolio companies across industries to discuss the impact of their businesses on society,” spokeswoman Carolyn Wegemann said in an email.
Fidelity, the largest owner of Vista Outdoor, did not respond to a request for comment.
–CNN’s Danielle Wiener-Bronner contributed to this report.