Lobbying: Fidelity, Vanguard, Citadel and BlackRock splash

Lobbying is big business in the US. It’s impossible to fathom a business of a significant size not investing a substantial sum of their money in this practice. In the last year, Fidelity Investments and BlackRock devoted more of their cash than all other asset managers on lobbyists, claims a political research group’s data analysis.

The sums, as they are recorded, will be seen as exorbitant to those who champion investor advocacy, especially if they’ve been against attempts at fixing regulation in favor of investors. As reported, $3.2 million was spent by Fidelity on lobbying. BlackRock, a fund house with more than $4.6 trillion in assets, spent $2.5 million. These figures were collected by the Center for Responsive Politics and can be viewed on OpenSecrets.org.

According to Fidelity, the amount reported by OpenSecrets exceeds their actual spending by $200,000, and BlackRock did not dispute the figure. This claim flies in the face of the Senate Office of Public Records, where OpenSecrets acquired its data. BlackRock made news last year when it joined up with other asset managers when the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a grouping of US regulators, claimed there would be a renewed focus on supporting production financially and not just individual corporations.

When reached for comment, Barbara Novick, the Vice-Chairman of BlackRock, in charge of their lobbying and their relations with government bodies, said that there was a necessity for open dialogue where the investor’s voice could be heard. She went on to say that they have spent the last five years attempting to bring the investor’s concerns to the forefront, and that they’re views are diverse, ranging from bond-market structure to high-frequency trading.

Other lobbying giants include Vanguard, a passive fund, coming in third in spending with $2.1 million, TIAA-CREF, the Canadian pension scheme, came in fourth with $1.9, and fifth is the hedge fund Citadel with $640,000. Citadel confirmed the reported amounts.

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