By Larry Keane
On Tuesday, Oct. 18th, Missouri Attorney General Scott Fitzpatrick divested $500 million in assets managed by the massive investment management firm BlackRock on behalf of the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS). AG Fitzpatrick criticized BlackRock’s blind commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, noting that “fiduciary duty must remain the top priority for investment managers—a duty some of them have abdicated in favor of forcing a left-wing social and political agenda that has failed to succeed legislatively, on publicly traded companies.”
A relatively new group, the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF), has also taken action against ESG-obsessed investment management firms and strategies. South Carolina’s treasurer Curtis Loftis said he would remove $200 million of state retirement funds from BlackRock control by December. Louisiana’s treasurer John Schroder told Financial Times that he would divest $794 million from BlackRock as well. Additionally, Utah and Arkansas committed to pull $100 million and $125 million, respectively, from BlackRock over concerns that the firm prioritizes ESG principles over sound fiduciary management of state funds.
Utah’s State Treasurer Marlo Oaks said, “We need to ensure that the money is not being used to drive a separate agenda different from our obligation” to maximize benefits to Utah residents, not left-wing climate agendas.