Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who launched a new fund to take on woke corporations, reveled in a “flood of job applicants” from competing asset managers on Tuesday afternoon.
Ramaswamy — a former pharmaceutical CEO who left his company over frustration with corporate wokeness — recently launched Strive, an asset management firm based in Ohio that will invest in companies with an “excellence capitalism” approach. Instead of pushing “stakeholder capitalism” and other progressive viewpoints on firms in its portfolio, Strive will encourage firms to pursue maximizing profits for shareholders.
On Twitter, Ramaswamy said that “impressive” applicants are already soliciting his company.
“Really enjoying the flood of job applicants… including from BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard who say they are ‘fed up’ with the nonsense,” Ramaswamy tweeted. “Impressive backgrounds too, I’ll give our competitors some credit there.”
Really enjoying the flood of job applicants…including from BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard who say they are “fed up” with the nonsense.
Impressive backgrounds too, I’ll give our competitors some credit there.
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) May 10, 2022
In multiple media hits, Ramaswamy argued that ESG — the progressive investment philosophy that emphasizes “social responsibility” in addition to profits — has no track record of success. “There’s no evidence that ESG outperforms, despite the claims made by some of the world’s largest asset managers and their CEOs,” he said in an interview with CNBC.
There’s no evidence that ESG “outperforms.”
Companies like Exxon would be better off today if they were drilling more oil than before BlackRock & Engine No. 1 told them to go in a different direction.
And America would be closer to energy independence too. pic.twitter.com/ThlgWcidux
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) May 11, 2022
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ramaswamy said, “We will tell oil companies to be excellent oil companies and coal companies to be excellent coal companies and solar companies to be excellent solar companies.”
Ramaswamy said that he has thus far gained $20 million in financial backing. The Journal reported that PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Pershing Square Capital Management CEO Bill Ackman are among the financiers.
“A majority of Americans want companies to stay out of politics,” Ramaswamy remarked. “They want to have a separate space for where they shop, where they work, and where they invest from the places where they cast their ballots or engage in their political debates.”
Three institutional asset managers — BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard — hold, on average, a 20% stake in every Fortune 500 company. Collectively, the three firms handle over $21 trillion in assets.
Rather than operating under the model of shareholder capitalism — which centers upon corporations maximizing returns for investors — stakeholder capitalism claims that everyone in the “community” has a say in how a company’s activities impact any number of issues — from climate change to minority board seats. The approach argues that for the sake of a greater social good, corporations must be involved in political and social causes that may have nothing to do with their businesses — whether it benefits their shareholders or not.
Ramaswamy — the former CEO of biopharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences and author of “Woke, Inc: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam” — explained in an op-ed last year that both liberals and conservatives are duped by large firms’ tactics.
“This new woke-industrial Leviathan gains its power by dividing us as a people. When corporations tell us what social values we’re supposed to adopt, they take America as a whole and divide us into tribes,” Ramaswamy wrote. “That makes it easier for them to make a buck, but it also coaxes us into adopting new identities based on skin-deep characteristics and flimsy social causes that supplant our deeper shared identity as Americans.”