North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell is calling on BlackRock CEO Larry Fink to resign due to the financial firm’s activist investing policies.
Folwell stated that Fink should resign or be fired because he has used BlackRock’s financial influence to push an activist political and social agenda instead of fully focusing on making money for clients, according to a Friday letter sent to the firm’s board of directors. Fink and BlackRock have committed to environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) investing, leading the company to embrace international climate targets and push other companies to do the same. (RELATED: Florida Takes $2 Billion Away From BlackRock Due To Firm’s Activist Investing Standards)
“At Larry Fink’s direction, BlackRock has used the financial power of its clients to force the global warming agenda, using proxy voting authority to push companies to ‘net zero,’ often in conflict with its fiduciary responsibilities,” the letter reads. “BlackRock needs to be totally focused on returns for their clients, not on the political effort to ‘transform’ the economy to your vision of carbon zero.”
Folwell signed an agreement that will allow the North Carolina Retirement System (NCRS) to vote independently on investor decisions that will affect its shares that are managed by BlackRock in order to combat its investing strategies, according to the letter. Folwell added that the NCRS, which is worth approximately $111 billion, has invested roughly $14 billion in a combination of active and passive funds through BlackRock, in addition to another $55 million passively invested in the firm’s equities and bonds.
“Given his [Fink’s] dogged pursuit of these political objectives over a number of years, I’m skeptical that he would or could lead the necessary course correction,” Folwell wrote. “Having lost confidence in his leadership … I request, quite simply, that he resign or be removed from the asset management firm’s leadership team immediately.”
BlackRock, which manages nearly $8 trillion in assets, is also a member of the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, an alliance of financial groups that supports climate investments to get the world to produce “net-zero emissions” by 2050 or sooner. The asset manager voted to take action against 53 companies for climate inaction and put an additional 191 companies under review, according to a 2021 company report.
Vanguard, the world’s second-largest asset manager after BlackRock, withdrew from the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative on Wednesday after 13 Republican attorneys general filed a motion urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to prevent the firm from purchasing shares of publicly traded electricity providers.
“Over the past year, BlackRock has been subject to campaigns suggesting we are either ‘too progressive’ or ‘too conservative’ in how we manage our clients’ money,” BlackRock said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We are neither … we are a fiduciary.”
This story has been updated with comment from BlackRock.
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