Investment managers call on North Carolina to repeal House Bill 2

By September 26, 2016News Clips

SOURCE: The News&Observer • September 26, 2016

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More than 50 investment managers with more than $2.1 trillion under management are calling for a full repeal of North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which limits protections for LGBT individuals.

The initiative was organized by Trillium Asset Management, the Croatan Institute and the New York City Comptroller.

“As long-term investors, we can’t sit idly by as HB2 undermines fundamental human rights at our expense,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said in a statement. “For the last 25 years, New York City’s pension funds have pushed more than 100 companies to enact non-discrimination policies that protect LGBTQ individuals and ensure they attract, retain, and promote the best and the brightest. These policies are essential if we want companies – and our economy – to succeed, and we can’t let a hate-filled law get in the way.”

HB2 has made it harder to get deals done in North Carolina and land financing for businesses, said Joshua Humphreys, president and senior fellow of the Croatan Institute, an independent nonprofit research institute based in the Research Triangle of North Carolina.

“This diverse group of investors has therefore come together to call for a full repeal of HB2 – before the investment climate in our state deteriorates further,” he said.

The list of investment firms signing the statement issued Monday includes the Connecticut pension fund, the AFL-CIO investment office, John Hancock Investments, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, RBC Wealth Management and the Rhode Island pension fund.

McCrory signed HB2 into law in March to nullify a Charlotte ordinance, which had generated controversy by protecting transgender people who use public restrooms based on their gender identity. HB2 also overrode local ordinances around the state that would have expanded protections for the LGBT community.

Opponents of the law have said it discriminates against LGBT individuals. In protest, the NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference have pulled major college sporting events from the state, the NBA moved its All-Star Game from Charlotte, entertainers have canceled performances and business such as PayPal have pulled the plug on expansions.

McCrory has blamed politics for the HB2 fallout and said boycotts are being inconsistently applied to the state.

Following the NCAA and ACC game cancellations, the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association announced it was trying to broker a compromise to stop the economic damage from HB2. The Charlotte Chamber, along with hospitality and tourism leaders, also called for the city and state to repeal the original Charlotte ordinance and HB2.

Last week, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, however, said that at least for now, repealing the ordinance that led to House Bill 2 is off the table. McCrory blamed special interest pressure for derailing a “common sense” compromise,” while a Cooper spokesman called the “new round of finger-pointing is ridiculous.”

In a statement Monday, the McCrory campaign said the “latest attack on North Carolina values’ was coordinated by a New York City pension fund that is at risk of an “operational failure,” citing a January New York Times story. “For New York hedge fund billionaires to lecture North Carolina about how to conduct its affairs is the height of hypocrisy,” the campaugn said. “Sadly, we are not in the least bit surprised by this attack.”

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