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British activist platform investors take on software giant Salesforce

British activist platform investors take on US software giant Salesforce and push for internal audit over diversity

  • Salesforce is facing accusations of microaggressions by two former employees
  • Retail investors have launched a campaign to commission an audit 
  • Activist platform Tulipshare will table a proposal at software firm’s next AGM 

Everyday investors who use a British activist investing platform are joining forces to launch a campaign against software firm Salesforce.

Salesforce shareholders will submit a proposal, via activist investing platform Tulipshare, to request the software company commissions an independent audit of its impact on civil rights, equity, diversity and inclusion.

The company hired its first chief equality officer in 2016, and has pledged 1 per cent of its resources to philanthropic causes.

Software firm Salesforce is the subject of a campaign from activist investors

Software firm Salesforce is the subject of a campaign from activist investors 

Tulipshare is an investment platform started in London that lets activists buy shares in companies to try to get them to act or change their behaviour on certain things. The idea is to give ordinary investors a similar impact to that enjoyed by big activist investors. Tulipshare currently allows this for companies on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. 

Salesforce currently has a goal of having half of its US workforce consisting of underrepresented groups – which includes women, black, latinx, indigenous, multiracial and LGBTQ+ employees – by 2023. 

But Tulipshare says this ‘intersectional category allows Salesforce to seemingly reach its goal while still leaving particular groups underrepresented.’

Between 2015 and 2021, the percentage of hispanic employees rose from 4 per cent to 5.1 per cent and for black employees from 2 per cent to 4.3 per cent. 

Tulipshare added: ‘On top of that, Salesforce’s goal of “doubling” its ‘representation of black leaders’ by 2023 would be a misleading achievement considering that only 1.5 per cent of the company’s total leadership roles were comprised of Black employees in 2020.’

Cynthia Perry, a senior manager of research in business technology at the company,  recently penned an open letter saying she had been ‘gaslit, manipulated, neglected, and mostly unsupported’ by a manager at Salesforce.

She said: ‘I’m disappointed because this company sets an expectation that equality is a volume that it stands with the black community, that you can show up and be your whole self at work.’

Within weeks fellow employee Vivianne Castillo resigned saying she had ‘grown tired of watching the canaries of underrepresented minorities go into the coal mines of Salesforce’s culture’.

Salesforce also faced criticism for its remote hiring strategy with claims it did little to promote diversity and inclusion.

In February 2021 it announced it would allow its employees to choose between a ‘flex’ schedule or to work remotely full-time.

It said the ‘work from anywhere model’ would improve diversity and inclusion but Tulipshare claims that given most want to adopt a ‘flex approach’ employees need to live near the office.’

‘For those employees based out of their San Francisco office this comes with a price tag, as San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. with a cost of living 80 per cent higher than the national average.’

Tulipshare is the lead sponsor to submit the proposal which will be heard at Salesforce’s next Annual General Meeting (AGM), which is widely expected to be in June. 

Antoine Argouges, chief executive and founder of Tulipshare, said: ‘Increased diversity in the workplace is linked to increased productivity, innovation and performance. 

‘With recent events such as the murder of George Floyd and the disproportionate impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are hopeful that Salesforce will take our request seriously and work collaboratively with us to come to a resolution.’

Salesforce declined to comment.

Compare the best DIY investing platforms and stocks & shares Isa

Investing online is simple, cheap and can be done from your computer, tablet or phone at a time and place that suits you.

When it comes to choosing a DIY investing platform, stocks & shares Isa or a general investing account, the range of options might seem overwhelming. 

Every provider has a slightly different offering, charging more or less for trading or holding shares and giving access to a different range of stocks, funds and investment trusts. 

When weighing up the right one for you, it’s important to to look at the service that it offers, along with administration charges and dealing fees, plus any other extra costs.

To help you compare investment accounts, we’ve crunched the facts and pulled together a comprehensive guide to choosing the best and cheapest investing account for you. 

We highlight the main players in the table below but would advise doing your own research and considering the points in our full guide linked here.

>> This is Money’s full guide to the best investing platforms and Isas 

Admin charge Charges notes Fund dealing Standard share, trust, ETF dealing Regular investing Dividend reinvestment
AJ Bell YouInvest 0.25%  Max £3.50 per month for shares, trusts, ETFs.  £1.50 £9.95 £1.50 1% (Min £1.50, max £9.95)  More details
Bestinvest 0.40%  Account fee cut to 0.2% for ready made investments Free £4.95 n/a n/a More details
Charles Stanley Direct 0.35%  No platform fee on shares if a trade in that month and annual max of £240 Free £11.50 n/a n/a More details
Fidelity 0.35% on funds £45 fee up to £7,500. Max £45 per year for shares,  trusts,  ETFs Free £10 Free funds £1.50 shares, trusts ETFs £1.50 More details
Hargreaves Lansdown 0.45% Capped at £45 for shares, trusts, ETFs Free £11.95 £1.50 1% (£1 min, £10 max) More details
Interactive Investor  £119.88 as £9.99 per month £7.99 per month back in trading credit £7.99 £7.99 Free £0.99 More details
iWeb £100 one-off £5 £5 n/a 2%, max £5 More details
Freetrade Free for standard account £3 month for Isa  Freetrade Plus with more investments is £9.99/month inc. Isa fee No funds  Free  n/a  n/a  More details 
Vanguard  0.15%   
Only Vanguard funds
Free  Free only Vanguard ETFs  Free  n/a  More details 
(Source: March 2022. Admin charges quoted annually, may be monthly or quarterly)






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