he decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission
to require fund firms to disclose their proxy votes is an opportunity for some niche firms to further differentiate themselves from the big boys.
One example of this is the action taken yesterday by Citizens Funds
. Once it became clear the SEC was taking action, the New Hampshire-based socially-responsible investment specialist rushed a press release saying that it will publicly disclose its proxy votes.
Citizens also said that it will immediately start disclosing its voting records on its Web site. Previously, the firm had only posted its voting guidelines on the site.
"We believe all mutual funds should disclose how they vote shares in their portfolios, and we encourage the SEC to make this a requirement for the industry," explained Diane South
, Citizens' director of social research.
She added that with the SEC's action, the present seemed to be the right time for the initiative. "As social investors, we are going to walk-the-walk," she added.
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