Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Ben Zeisloft.
Several Republican state attorneys general informed asset manager BlackRock last week that its shareholder activism efforts "may violate multiple state laws."
The officials' letter, written in response to a communication from BlackRock Chief Client Officer Mark McCombe claiming that the firm is agnostic on the question of renewable energy, contended that BlackRock's efforts to promote climate policy shows that they act with "mixed motives"
beyond the pursuit of profits.
"Rather than being a spectator betting on the game, BlackRock appears to have put on a quarterback jersey and actively taken the field,"
the letter said. The officials pointed to BlackRock's Investment Stewardship Report, which announced that the firm "took voting action on climate issues"
against 53 of its portfolio companies in 2020 while putting 191 others "on watch."
Likewise, the attorneys general noted that BlackRock has aligned itself with groups such as the Net Zero Managers Alliance and Climate Action 100+ - the latter of which "aims to ensure the world's largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take necessary action on climate change"
by forcing companies to comply with the Paris Agreement.
"BlackRock's past public commitments indicate that it has used citizens' assets to pressure companies to comply with international agreements such as the Paris Agreement that force the phase-out of fossil fuels, increase energy prices, drive inflation, and weaken the national security of the United States,"
the letter said. "These agreements have never been ratified by the United States Senate. The Senators elected by the citizens of this country determine which international agreements have the force of law, not BlackRock."
BlackRock - which maintains a 4.2% stake in Apple, a 4.5% stake in Microsoft, and a 3.6% stake in Amazon - is among the most influential asset managers in the world. Combined with the holdings of Vanguard and State Street, the three firms control an average 20% stake in every Fortune 500 company and have been willing to jointly exercise their power toward activist ends.
According to the attorneys general, such activism implies a departure from the maximization of returns for shareholders. "BlackRock has a private motivation that differs from its public commitments and statements,"
the letter continued. "This is likely insufficient to satisfy state laws requiring a sole focus on financial return. Our states will not idly stand for our pensioners' retirements to be sacrificed for BlackRock's climate agenda."
Amid its commitment to the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) movement - by which executives commit themselves to pursuing green energy, appointing a certain number of minorities to serve as managers, or otherwise blending profitability with a Left-wing agenda - BlackRock lost over $1.7 trillion in client assets during the first half of 2022. According to one analysis from Bloomberg, no other firm has ever lost more money over a six-month period than BlackRock.
"The first half of 2022 brought an investment environment that we have not seen in decades,"
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said in the company's second quarter earnings report. "Investors are simultaneously navigating high inflation, rising rates and the worst start to the year for both stocks and bonds in half a century, with global equity and fixed income indexes down 20% and 10%, respectively."
BlackRock and other large asset managers direct the policies of corporate America on the basis of their clients' funds - which is often the retirement and pension savings of typical American investors. However, an exclusive Daily Wire poll conducted by Echelon Insights showed earlier this year that 64% of respondents believe "individual investors whose savings are being invested" should decide whether retirement funds and pension plans are allocated according to ESG criteria. A mere 20% believe that "Wall Street asset managers"
should make such decisions.