Analysis | The Finance 202: #BoycottNRA courses through Wall Street
The #BoycottNRA wave is crashing through Wall Street as finance giants reckon with the consumer demands for blue-chip companies to cut ties with gun interests in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.
- Blackstone Group, the investing behemoth, over the weekend asked outside fund managers to list their ownership in companies that manufacture and sell guns. “The request, with a roughly one-day turnaround, was emailed to managers at about a dozen hedge funds in which Blackstone has a stake, one of the people said,” the Wall Street Journal’s Jenny Strasburg and Miriam Gottfried report. “The email asked for information about ‘any ownership or lending’ of or to ‘gun manufacturers or gun sellers.’ ”
- Bank of America issued a statement Saturday indicating it plans to “engage the limited number of clients we have that manufacture assault weapons for non-military use to understand what they can contribute to this shared responsibility,” although precisely what that means wasn’t immediately clear. Ditto investment manager BlackRock, the largest shareholder in gun makers Sturm Ruger and American Outdoor Brands. A spokesman said the firm “will be engaging with weapons manufacturers and distributors to understand their response to recent events.”
- MetLife joined the cavalcade of companies ending their discount program for NRA members, per a Friday tweet. And another insurer,Chubb, announced Friday that it will stop underwriting coverage for NRA members who get sued for shooting people, a program it called “NRA Carry Guard.”
- First National Bank of Omaha was one of the first corporate movers. The privately held bank holding company announced Thursday that it would stop issuing its NRA-branded Visa card, which had been advertised as “the official credit card of the N.R.A.” It gave members of the gun group 5 percent back on gas and sporting-goods purchases.
Expect more to come. No other big banks are yet ready to announce they are reexamining their relationships with the gun industry, per a survey I did over the weekend. But the lightning-fast success of the consumer protest movement so far all but guarantees that more leading brands will feel compelled to sever ties.
Already, in addition to financial services interests, the list of those dropping partnerships with the NRA include Delta Air Lines and United Airlines; car renters Avis Budget Group, Hertz, and Enterprise; cybersecurity company Symantec; and the auto pricing site TrueCar.
Financial giants are reconsidering their relationship with the powerhouse.