Fidelity Target Fund Shareholders Support Sudan Divestment

August 17, 2009 ( - Millions of Fidelity customers invested in two of its target-date funds have voted for a proposal to prevent holdings in investments in companies that substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity.

According to a news release from the group Investors Against Genocide (IAG), the Fidelity funds recording votes were Fidelity’s Freedom 2010 Fund at 21.9% for the proposal and Freedom 2020 Fund at 23.4%. Results of the voting were comparable to results on the same proposal at Fidelity last year, when 14 funds recorded votes ranging from 20% to 31% for the proposal, IAG said.

By voting “FOR” on ballot Question 3, shareholders asked the funds’ Boards to “institute procedures to prevent holding investments in companies that, in the judgment of the Board, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity, the most egregious violations of human rights,” according to the news release. Seven additional funds did not reach quorum on Question 3 and did not record votes.  

IAG is engaged in an effort to encourage legislation and regulatory changes to address investments in companies that help to fund genocide. Last year, President Bush signed into law the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act, permitting U.S. state and local governments, as well as mutual funds and private pension funds, to divest their investments in companies involved in four Sudanese business sectors – oil industry, mineral extraction, power production, and the production of military equipment (see Bush Signs Sudan Divestment Bill into Law ).