(Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis)
According to a press release, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced that the Florida Treasury would begin divesting $2 billion worth of assets currently under management by BlackRock. The State Treasury will immediately have Florida’s custody bank freeze approximately $1.43 billion worth of long-term securities and remove BlackRock as the manager of about $600 million worth of short-term overnight investments. Asset managers invest these taxpayer funds as part of Florida’s Treasury Investment Pool. By the beginning of 2023, the State Treasury will divest all short- and long-term investments from BlackRock and relocate investment responsibilities to other fund management entities.
“The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, Which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces.” Daniel 7:23
Patronis said, “As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, it’s my responsibility to get the best returns possible for taxpayers. The more effective we are in investing dollars to generate a return, the more effective we’ll be in funding priorities like schools, hospitals, and roads. 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. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is on a campaign to change the world. In an open letter to CEOs, he’s championed ‘stakeholder capitalism’ and believes that ‘capitalism has the power to shape society.’ To meet this end, the asset management company 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.”
At least one analyst downgraded BlackRock earlier this year because of the political risk associated with ESG investing. Following the third quarter release, UBS analyst Brennan Hawken downgraded the company’s stock from Buy to Neutral and dropped the target price to $585 from $700. Hawken’s note on the change cited growing pushback on BlackRock’s environment, social, and governance (ESG) investment strategy.
Just before the downgrade, Louisiana State Treasurer John Schroder informed BlackRock CEO Larry Fink the state would divest a total of $794 million in treasury funds from the asset manager for ignoring its fiduciary responsibility and focusing on ideological investing.
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