Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee slammed BlackRock for moving “away from its fiduciary duty in general as an asset manager” and into “political activism.”
“At the beginning of this year, I led in the national divestment effort to remove any exposure we had with BlackRock,” Yee said. She noted that her office “divested more than $543 million from BlackRock money market funds and reduced our direct exposure to BlackRock by 97% this year.”
Arizona’s treasurer explained that divestment happened after the state Investment Risk Management Committee (IRMC) found that BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s annual letters in recent years “began dictating to businesses in the United States to follow his personal political beliefs.”
“In short, BlackRock moved from a traditional asset manager to a political action committee,” she wrote.
One of the political beliefs Fink and BlackRock have been accused of pushing has been environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies.
ESG policies are a form of leftist activism in financial investing that has become the latest vector to influence the way Wall Street financial firms and corporations continue to take social and political positions that do not relate to their business, such as stances associated with climate change, as well as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) agenda. Wall Street firms, such as BlackRock, push the policies as a way to invest according to specific criteria that the political left pushes on voters and consumers.
Yee acknowledged that her investment team believed that BlackRock pushing Fink’s political beliefs had ultimately “moved the firm away from its fiduciary duty in general as an asset manager.” This is why she approved IRMC’s proposal to stop using the asset manager’s money market funds and moved to reduce the state’s treasury’s exposure to BlackRock.
She continued to explain in her statement:
We will continue to reduce our remaining exposure in BlackRock over time in a phased in approach that takes into consideration safe and prudent investment strategy that protects the taxpayers. Any stock owned by the Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund that is part of our passive index equity strategy in investing in the top 1,500 American firms will have minimal exposure as it is within the index. If BlackRock were not part of the index, we would otherwise divest the position. At the end of November, our direct exposure to BlackRock was in stock and bonds, or less than 1 tenth of one percent of our total assets under management.
The benefit of continuing to own the shares of the entire index allows us to vote our shares as an investor in the hopes of joining other like-minded investors to change the political activism of BlackRock. We will continue to fight back against the dangerous path of companies pushing their social issues and wokeism inside of the investment space and return to traditional money management that puts the people first.
Following Arizona’s move to divest from BlackRock earlier this year, more Republicans across the United States have started to take aim at BlackRock for the ESG policies. Multiple Republican-led states across the U.S. have begun pulling money they have invested out of BlackRock due to its leftist activism in financial investing.
Additionally, multiple state treasurers attended the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) conference last month, where many from across the country presented a strategy against ESG policies. The group launched a website and a video explainer, hoping to educate Americans on the dangers of ESG policies.
At the conference, multiple state treasurers explained to Breitbart News that ESG policies hurt each state differently but collectively financially hurt all American taxpayers. Hence, they came together in a joint effort to combat the left-wing policies masquerading as economics.