North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell has sent a bombshell letter to asset manager BlackRock, saying its CEO, Larry Fink, must ‘resign or be removed’ from the company’s management team ‘immediately’ due to his obsession with pursuing a leftist “political agenda”.
Folwell is the first state treasurer to ask Fink to ‘resign or be removed from office,’ while others have removed proxy votes from their state and disinvested public funds by BlackRock.
As “alone fiduciary,” Folwell said in the letter that he is “skeptical “Fink” would lead or could direct the necessary course correction” and lost confidence in his leadership due to Fink’s decision conduct environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies.
“Larry Fink’s pursuit of a political agenda has impeded BlackRock’s same fiduciary duty. The focus on ESG is not focused on returns and could potentially force us to breach our own fiduciary duty,” he wrote in the letter. “There is no blue money or red money in the treasurer’s office, only green.”
“BlackRock must be totally focused on returns for its customers, not the political effort to ‘transform’ the economy according to your vision of zero carbon. Fossil fuels will drive the global economy for the foreseeable future,” he wrote. “The only way I see BlackRock refocusing on its fiduciary duty to its customers is to change at the top.”
Folwell says he wrote this on behalf of North Carolinians and in particular North Carolina Retirement Systems (NCRS), which is one of the largest public retirement plans in the nation, because he wants to make sure that benefits retirement funds and savings of more than one million people – “approximately $14 billion invested through BlackRock in various active and passive funds, in addition to approximately $55 million invested passively in BlackRock stocks or bonds” – are managed appropriately.
Unfortunately, Larry Fink’s pursuit of a political agenda has impeded BlackRock’s same fiduciary duty. The focus on ESG is not focused on returns and could potentially force us to breach our own fiduciary duty. Ultimately, Fink’s continued ideological pressure could result in the use of ESG scores against states and local governments, lowering their credit ratings and thereby increasing their cost of borrowing at the expense of taxpayers. This doesn’t just affect me as state treasurer, but as chairman of the North Carolina State Banking Commission and the Local Government Commission.
Under the leadership of Larry Fink, BlackRock wielded the financial power of its customers to force the global warming agenda, using proxy voting power to push corporations towards ‘net zero’, often in conflict with its fiduciary responsibilities. For example, in 2020 he used votes from BlackRock customers against two board members backed by ExxonMobil management because of “insignificant progress” toward green energy. Yet shares of ExxonMobil have risen 60% in the 12 months since the election of board members due to an increase in demand for oil. Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger was right when he said we don’t need “emperor” voting stocks in index funds based on their social agendas.
With that in mind, I recently signed an agreement that allows NCRS to vote its shares managed by BlackRock. I recognize that you implemented a proxy voting system last year that allows investors in certain pooled vehicles to exercise some control over their vote. However, the existence of the proxy voting program does not alleviate the need for new management at BlackRock.
As mentioned, more and more Republicans across the United States have started taking aim at BlackRock for its ESG policies. Several Republican-run states across the United States have begun withdrawing the money they have invested from BlackRock due to its left-leaning activism in financial investing.
Additionally, state treasurers from several states attended the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) conference last month, where many representatives from across the country presented a strategy against ESG policies. The group launched a website and explainer video, hoping to educate Americans about the dangers of ESG policies.
At the conference, several state treasurers explained to Breitbart News that ESG policies hurt each state differently, but collectively hurt all American taxpayers financially. Therefore, they came together in a common effort to fight leftist politics disguised as economics.
Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.