Anti-woke ETF adopts progressive cause

A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, July 19, 2021.
A street sign for Wall Street is seen outside the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

NEW YORK, Oct 11 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Exchange-traded fund God Bless America, which launched on Tuesday under the ticker symbol “YALL,” is promising to boycott businesses with market capitalizations over $1 billion that speak out on subjects like Georgia’s law that put some restrictions on voting. Keeping tabs on such corporate actions is a tall order, especially when the ETF plans to mimic the make-up of the S&P 500 Index and avoid skewing investment toward anti-woke darlings such as the oil sector. Even so its strategy dovetails with some progressive causes.

Toward the top of its list of priorities, Portfolio Manager Adam Curran intends to favor companies that treat payroll as an investment, not an expense. Subjects like job creation and fair pay are topics that advocates such as the Congressional Progressive Caucus are advancing. So too is BlackRock (BLK.N) boss Larry Fink, who noted how companies manage their employees is material to investors’ interests. Typically those issues fall under the "S" in the environmental, social, and governance mandates that YALL is fighting against. Sometime conservative and progressive values meet in the middle. (By Jennifer Saba)

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

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Editing by Lauren Silva Laughlin and Amanda Gomez

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