Whose Vote? Whose Values? iconik Fixes ESG Controversy

ONEFUND investors will have a say in ALL S&P 500 stocks

BERKELEY, Calif. and TAMPA, Fla. , March 28, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For the first time ever, all fund shareholders will have direct control of how all of their shares are voted specific to their personal value sets. iconik’s VoteThru™ technology will enable ONEFUND managers to vote proportionally to reflect the preferences of their investors on the full range of governance, social and environmental issues.

“Fund managers have too much influence over public companies, and they often wield that influence in ways that aren’t consistent with the values of their investors. Through this partnership, our INDEX investors will have access to breakthrough technology designed to flip control back to them,” said ONEFUND Chief Executive Officer Mike Willis. “Rather than rifling through hundreds of ballots, they will be able to set up their VoteThru profile in minutes, and be heard on the issues that matter to them.”

ONEFUND investors will be able to create their own personalized voting profiles or choose five preset options that span the ideological spectrum. These include: Fiscal Conservative, Catholic Values, Board-Aligned, Shareholder Protections, and As You Vote ESG+ (by As You Sow).

iconik uses each investor’s voting profile (and percentage ownership of the fund) to calculate voting data that fund managers can use to easily implement pro-rata voting. It also provides fund management with key insights about where their investors stand on issues of importance.

“ONEFUND is resolved to return voting power back to individual investors,” said co-founder Todd Johnson. “We were the first index fund to open up the proxy process to shareholders. And now with iconik, we’re making it even easier for investors holding INDEX – yes, that’s our ticker symbol – to make their voice heard.”

In 2023 mutual funds are under increasing pressure from investors and policy makers to fix a proxy process that concentrates voting power with asset managers and away from the true owners - individual investors. Currently the Investor Democracy is Expected (INDEX) Act proposed in the Senate aims to amend the Investment Company Act of 1940 and return corporate governance to individual investors. At the same time, 21 Republican attorney generals have threatened legal action in regard to ISS and Glass Lewis’ voting policies.

“Fund managers are being scrutinized like never before when it comes to how they’re exercising their voting power,” said iconik Chief Executive Officer Alex Thaler. “In the early days of corporate governance, shareholders showed up in person and raised their hands to vote. Their voices were heard. Fast forward a few hundred years and ownership is now managed through funds and other intermediaries that attempt to speak for thousands or hundreds of thousands of investors. People are waking up to the fact that these funds aren’t representing their values. Our platform offers a simple, elegant way for funds to honor the voices of their investors.”

“Corporate governance is changing.” write academics Jill Fisch and Jeff Schwartz in the recently published Corporate Democracy and the Intermediary Voting Dilemma, U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 06, 2023. “This new focus is arguably more about values than value…institutional intermediaries— pension and mutual fund managers—can no longer vote and engage on the affairs of their portfolio companies without seeking the input of the pension-plan participants and mutual-fund shareholders who are their beneficiaries...“ *1

While the financial services industry has undergone a digital transformation around trading and client interfaces, the process of voting proxies remains antiquated. Individual investors also lack the voting resources and tools available to wealthy institutional investors. It’s understandable that 88% of these investors don’t vote.

“Historically, retail shareholders have found it to be too difficult to use the power of their proxy vote - even though they represent around 31% of every company,” said Andrew Behar, CEO of shareholder advocacy non-profit As You Sow, which manages iconik’s As You Vote ESG+ voting option. “iconik has a tool that empowers everyone to express their values by voting their proxies. ”

“You can’t inundate people with information without context,” explains iconik Co-Founder and President Alan Reid. “We’re leading a major reset in favor of shareholder participation with technology designed to streamline the investor experience. In the process, we’re solving the accountability problem for fund managers while creating opportunities for them to understand what matters most to their clients.”

According to Fisch and Schwartz, “Iconik…is perhaps the most promising new effort to engage investors.” *2

About iconik VoteThru™

VoteThru™ enables users to create personalized voting profiles that match their values by completing an online assessment around the issues that matter to them, skipping the ones that don’t. Each unique voting profile automatically generates voting choices across a portfolio. iconik is the first and only service to close the loop with personalized impact reports.


ONEFUND manages an S&P 500™ Equal Weight Index Fund (ticker symbol: INDEX) and seeks to Tokenize an SEC Regulated S&P 500™ Equal Weight Index Fund to provide a bridge for the $7 Trillion in S&P 500™ mutual funds to access the digital marketplace.


About iconik

iconik is a fintech startup built around the transformative power of choice in shareholder voting. The team combines the finance, consumer and business technology expertise of Chief Executive Officer Alex Thaler, startup founder, software engineer and former corporate attorney, Chief Technology Officer Samson Sprouse, veteran engineering leader, and President J. Alan Reid, an innovator in the financial services industry for three decades.


1 © Jill E. Fisch and Jeff Schwartz 2023.
2 © Jill E. Fisch and Jeff Schwartz 2023.


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