Republican treasurers withdraw $1B from BlackRock over ESG investments

The world’s largest asset manager is facing $1 billion in withdrawals from Republican state treasurers because of the financial giant’s investment priorities, according to published reports.

BlackRock, which manages $8.5 trillion, has come under fire for its aggressive push on so-called ESG investments that promote environmental, social and governance issues.

The outrage has led multiple GOP treasurers to announce they are planning to withdraw — or have already withdrawn — state funds from Larry Fink’s company.

The Louisiana treasurer, John Schroder, said last week he is pulling out $794 million, while Curtis Loftis of South Carolina announced plans to withdraw $200 million by the end of the year. That comes on the heels of the Utah treasurer withdrawing $100 million and Arkansas’ treasurer liquidating $125 million, according to the Financial Times.

People with knowledge say these withdrawals pale in comparison to the billions of dollars state pension funds invest in BlackRock. State treasurers allocate cash on hand in the treasury but have no say in where pension funds are allocated.

BlackRock chief Larry Fink has pushed for ESG investments.
BlackRock chief Larry Fink has pushed for ESG investments.
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Despite, the planned withdrawals, BlackRock’s assets under management have actually surged $1 trillion since 2020.

The withdrawals come as 19 state attorneys general, led by Arizona’s Mark Brnovich, wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission asking the agency to look into BlackRock’s ties to China and whether or not it was prioritizing its fiduciary responsibility to investors. 

The letter highlighted that the investing giant invests in and does business with Chinese companies that often flout environmental concerns even as it pushes for US companies to embrace net-zero carb emissions. 

The letter also asked the SEC to examine whether the group’s ties to various climate groups and ESG objectives conflict with its fiduciary responsibilities.

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