ON THE MONEY
STUART THEOBALD: Money of activist investors and taxpayers finds its voice to oppose state capture
‘The lesson is — if you lose that respect [for the revenue service] then you lose’
There is a saying about money having a voice, while excrement is shown the door. In SA, investors and taxpayers have the money. That has big consequences for the fight against state capture; the funding needed to sustain it, including taxes and borrowing, can speak up. And it can choose to say "enough" by taking an activist stance. Activist investing can take many forms. It can be positive, by backing firms that are aiming to make the changes you want to see in the world, and it can be negative, by withdrawing funding from those that harm your social objectives. The clearest example of negative activist investing was the disinvestment campaign against apartheid, which applied huge pressure on the state, leading to its 1985 bankruptcy. There is some stirring of activist investing in the face of state capture. The first clear voices have come from lenders in withdrawing funds from captured institutions. Institutional asset manager Futuregrowth shocked the market and took a lot of heat...