After his landslide re-election victory, Governor Ron DeSantis declared that “Florida is where ‘woke’ goes to die!” Sure enough, the Chief Financial Officer of Florida, Jimmy Patronis, recently announced the withdrawal of $2 billion of the state’s treasury funds from Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager.
Larry Fink, the CEO of Blackrock, has led the way towards environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors for a new approach to investment management. In fact, in his 2020 annual letter, Fink emphasized “making sustainability integral…launching new investment products that screen fossil fuels.” An energy-rich state like Oklahoma does not need to enrich this kind of thinking with taxpayer dollars.
In a 2021 letter to fellow CEOs, Fink takes on the mantle of “stakeholder capitalism” to ask all his fellow CEOs to “fully reflect on long-term plans to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Social engineering does not belong in the world of managing assets and investments that belong to Oklahoma taxpayers who are counting on top-tier results.
In my world of managing investments, fiduciary responsibility necessitates the priority of protecting and growing client assets. The nebulous goals of climate change and ESG, which are often different depending on who you talk to, represent another assault by the liberal elite from the high rises of New York City. We shouldn’t stand for it in Oklahoma, and I ask the Treasurer of Oklahoma and the Trustees of our pension plans to terminate any or all relationships with Blackrock.
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