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Expert Voices: Bailard's Blaine Townsend

Jul 15, 2022
Photo illustration of Blaine Townsend with an image of plants and abstract shapes.

Photo illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios. Photo: courtesy of Bailard

This week we're talking with Blaine Townsend, an executive vice president and director of sustainable, responsible and impact investing at Bailard.

Why he matters: The Bay Area-based investment and wealth management firm has $5.6 billion AUM, making it a key player in the growth-stage ecosystem for climate technology startups.

What in your view was the big story this week?  

  • The SEC rolled back the Trump-era restrictions placed on proxy advisors. (See this Reuters report on the ruling this week and the SEC release.)

What would you add to the narrative?

  • These rules should never have been put in place. They run counter to the goals of the shareholder process. Overturning the rules allows for independence for proxy advisers. With this freedom, we can get back to business helping investors make necessary financial decisions.

By contrast, what’s being underreported or under-covered?

  • The arguments for putting these rules in place in the first place are missing. If we can pinpoint why and how these rules came into place, we have an opportunity to prevent something like this ever happening again.

In three words, what one change would you make to accelerate investment in climate tech?

  • Look past the present state of affairs with oil. Don’t look back — look ahead.
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