UPDATE: This piece has been updated to include comment from a Louisiana State Treasury spokesperson.
Republican state treasurers are withdrawing $1 billion in assets from BlackRock’s control due to the asset manager’s alleged boycott of the fossil fuel industry, according to the Financial Times.
Republican South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis Loftus is pulling $200 million from BlackRock by the end of 2022, and Louisiana treasurer John Schroder said on Oct. 5 that he is divesting $794 million from the company, according to the FT. Utah treasurer Marlo Oaks said he removed $100 million in funds from BlackRock’s control, and Arkansas treasurer Dennis Milligan pulled $125 million from the company in March. (RELATED: BlackRock Scrambles To Clarify Stance On Climate-Focused Investing)
The treasurers are removing state funds from BlackRock as they believe that the investment firm, which manages roughly $8.5 trillion worth of assets, is placing its climate agenda above its responsibility to its shareholders, according to the FT. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has previously pushed companies to reduce carbon emissions and invest in green energy.
BlackRock is also committed to helping the world reach “net-zero emissions” by 2050 as the company seeks to minimize “investment risk” that could be caused by climate change, according to its website. South Carolina prevented BlackRock from managing a $41 billion fund because of concerns about its environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies, Loftis told the FT.
“So much of it does not help the people it is supposed to help,” Loftis said of ESG investing. “That is why I have really gotten my back up.”
“ESG investing is contrary to Louisiana law, which states that returns on investments must be top priority,” Louisiana State Treasury spokesperson Erin Cowser told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “If you are on the warpath against the oil and gas industry, you are working against the best interests of the citizens of Louisiana. We are already a state facing tremendous economic challenges and BlackRock wants to make it worse.”
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt and 18 other Republican attorneys general sent a letter to Fink in August, calling BlackRock’s climate stances into question and alleging that the investment manager was violating its fiduciary duty to its clients by refusing to invest in oil and gas companies. BlackRock responded to the letter in September, claiming that it never forced businesses to adhere to its climate targets and does not coordinate its investment decisions or shareholder voting with climate activist parties.
West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore in late July banned JPMorgan, BlackRock and three other banks from doing business in the state due to the entities’ alleged boycott of oil, gas and coal businesses.
BlackRock and the four Republican state treasurers did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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