“Large institutional shareholders, notably BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, recognise that companies must serve broader social purposes,” writes Martin Lipton (Opinion, September 18). There is one big problem with this statement: these firms are not shareholders. They are mere agents for the real shareholders whose money is at risk. They are moreover agents that display all the conflicts of classic agency theory. Yet they go about calling themselves “shareholders”, pushing the personal political agendas of their executives.

What they should be doing is finding out what the real shareholders desire and voting shares accordingly as faithful agents, not pontificating about personal ideas, which are irrelevant as far as what shareholders want.

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