Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a fierce foe of the woke agenda permeating major corporations, has yanked a huge $2 billion worth of Florida’s assets from BlackRock, Inc., whose CEO, Larry Fink, has championed “stakeholder capitalism” to use shareholders’ money to finance his woke agenda.
In a harsh condemnation of BlackRock, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis made the announcement for the state on Thursday that $1.43 billion of Florida’s Long Duration Portfolio and of its $600 million Short Term Investment Fund (STIF) managed by BlackRock would be pulled. By the start of 2023, Florida’s Treasury will have divested from BlackRock’s management of all short and long-term investments.
“As major banking institutions and economists predict a recession in the coming year, and as the Fed increases interest rates to combat the inflation crisis, I need partners within the financial services industry who are as committed to the bottom line as we are — and I don’t trust BlackRock’s ability to deliver,” Patronis declared.
Patronis noted that BlackRock “has leaned heavily into Environmental, Social, and Governance standards — known as ESG — to help police who should, and who should not gain access to capital.”
“Whether stakeholder capitalism, or ESG standards, are being pushed by BlackRock for ideological reasons, or to develop social credit ratings, the effect is to avoid dealing with the messiness of democracy,” Patronis asserted. “I think it’s undemocratic of major asset managers to use their power to influence societal outcomes. If Larry, or his friends on Wall Street, want to change the world — run for office. Start a non-profit. Donate to the causes you care about.”
“Using our cash, however, to fund BlackRock’s social-engineering project isn’t something Florida ever signed up for,” Patronis stated. “It’s got nothing to do with maximizing returns and is the opposite of what an asset manager is paid to do. Florida’s Treasury Division is divesting from BlackRock because they have openly stated they’ve got other goals than producing returns.”
“As Larry Fink stated to CEOs, ‘[A]ccess to capital is not a right. It is a privilege,’” Patronis noted. “As Florida’s CFO I agree wholeheartedly, so we’ll be taking Larry up on his offer. There’s no lack of companies who will invest on our behalf, so the Florida Treasury will be taking its business elsewhere.”
In August, DeSantis, along with Trustees of the State Board of Administration (SBA), passed a resolution directing the state of Florida’s fund managers to invest state funds in a manner prioritizing the highest return on investment for Florida’s taxpayers.
“Corporate power has increasingly been utilized to impose an ideological agenda on the American people through the perversion of financial investment priorities under the euphemistic banners of environmental, social, and corporate governance and diversity, inclusion, and equity,” DeSantis stated. “With the resolution we passed today, the tax dollars and proxy votes of the people of Florida will no longer be commandeered by Wall Street financial firms and used to implement policies through the board room that Floridians reject at the ballot box. We are reasserting the authority of republican governance over corporate dominance and we are prioritizing the financial security of the people of Florida over whimsical notions of a utopian tomorrow.”