The GOP dispute with the largest money manager in the world over its ESG investment is intensifying as Florida pulls $2 billion worth of state assets handled by BlackRock.
Jimmy Patronis, the chief financial officer for Florida, said in a statement on Thursday that the state treasury will freeze about $1.43 billion in long-term securities and fire BlackRock as the manager of roughly $600 million in short-term overnight investments with the intention of handing over that business to other money managers by the start of 2023.
Florida Gov. DeSantis Pushes for Resolution
Republicans have attacked woke firms and money managers, threatening to bring down the $40 trillion ESG investing industry, claiming that liberals are employing ESG investing tactics to pursue an ideological agenda that will be rejected at the polls.
DeSantis, who is widely anticipated to run against former president Donald Trump for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, pushed through a resolution in August urging Florida to stop taking the ESG movement’s political agenda into account when investing state assets.
As a fiduciary, our only consideration is generating returns for our customers. Given the impressive returns BlackRock has provided Florida taxpayers with over the past five years, the company stated it was astonished by the Florida CFO’s choice. We are concerned about the new political trend of measures like this one that threaten returns by limiting access to top-notch investments, which will ultimately harm Florida’s population.
Last month, Louisiana Treasurer John Schroeder declared that his state will withdraw about $794 million, while Missouri would withdraw $500 million.
They were following the lead of West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Texas, which all passed resolutions requiring divestments from companies like BlackRock that oppose fossil fuels this year.
Additionally, $200 million was withheld from the company by South Carolina, while $100 million was returned by Utah and $125 million was liquidated by Arkansas.
In August 2022, the organization sent a letter to BlackRock CEO Laurence D. Fink stating that his company’s ESG concentration appears to go against the “single interest rule.”
After that, they’ll probably host a hearing on ESG practices and question BlackRock’s and other companies’ CEOs.