The Save Darfur Coalition is extending its campaign against mutual fund firms that have investments in companies in Sudan to include four more fund firms—American Funds, Franklin Resources, JPMorgan Chase and Vanguard— the Boston Globe reports.
In addition, the group plans to continue to pressure Fidelity via television and print ads and a petition with 150,000 signatures to sell its remaining shares in PetroChina, a Beijing oil company that does business there. As of Aug. 1, Fidelity still owned $608 million in PetroChina stock. Franklin owned $1.7 billion and JPMorgan Chase $1.6 billion of the stock.
“We’re still targeting them because they haven’t fully divested,” said Zahara Heckscher, campaign manager for Save Darfur Coalition. “We’re asking them to do the same thing we’re asking the others.”
Franklin defended its investments in the region, saying in a statement, “In our experience investing in emerging markets, we have seen that fostering economic and business development through investment in troubled regions can often help in achieving reform.”
American Funds’ parent Capital Group Cos. issued a similar statement, saying that it understands the group’s concerns, but “others believe that the rest of the world must stay engaged to have any influence” over the actions of the Sudanese government in the Darfur region, where mass genocide is said to be taking place.
A JPMorgan spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment since the funds holding PetroChina are based in London and Hong Kong, and a Vanguard spokeswoman said two of the three funds with holdings in the company are index funds tied to a benchmark. A Fidelity spokeswoman said many of the company’s funds with PetroChina holdings are run by a sister company, Fidelity International, based in London. The Globe attempted to reach a spokesman there with no success. The Fidelity spokeswoman in the U.S. also noted that only two of the funds holding PetroChina are based in the States with total holdings of only $65 million.