Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee (R) shared in a statement Thursday that her office has made significant divestments from investment company BlackRock following concerns that CEO Larry Fink was using the company to spread his political beliefs.
“The Arizona Treasury has received many questions, comments and concerns in the past few months regarding BlackRock, as several states have recently announced they are no longer investing with BlackRock,” said Yee. “We will continue to fight back against the dangerous path of companies pushing their social issues and wokeism inside of the investment space and return to traditional money management that puts the people first.”
At the beginning of this year, I led in the national divestment effort to remove any exposure we had with BlackRock. In February of 2022, my office divested more than $543 million from BlackRock money market funds and reduced our direct exposure to BlackRock by 97% this year. https://t.co/z6hrTv3d3L
— Kimberly Yee (@KimberlyYeeAZ) December 8, 2022
Yee clarified that Arizona has never held a contract with BlackRock for investments and only used the company for “money market funds for daily liquidation needs.” Instead, the in-house investment management team handles 98 percent of the Treasurer’s Office’s $30 billion in investments.
The pull away from BlackRock stemmed from Arizona’s internal Investment Risk Management Committee (IRMC), which began a review near the end of 2021.
“Part of the review by IRMC involved reading the annual letters by CEO Larry Fink, which in recent years, began dictating to businesses in the United States to follow his personal political beliefs. In short, BlackRock moved from a traditional asset manager to a political action committee,” said Yee.
Following this review, the IRMC proposed to reduce Arizona’s Treasury exposure to BlackRock. In early 2022, Yee began the divestment. The office divested over $543 million from BlackRock money market funds in February, reducing exposure with the company by 97 percent this year. At the end of November, Yee said her office’s only direct exposure to BlackRock was in stocks and bonds worth less than a tenth of one percent of her officer’s total assets.
“We will continue to reduce our remaining exposure in BlackRock over time in a phased in approach that takes into consideration safe and prudent investment strategy that protects the taxpayers,” Yee said.
As reported by The Sun Times, Fink was using his money and power to wage war on American energy. Fink has said, “behaviors are going to have to change,” and has pushed a progressive climate agenda that targets U.S. energy production. Additionally, BlackRock appears to have a close relationship with China. It has “recommended investors triple their allocations in China’s green assets,” which could place the U.S. at the mercy of China, which dominates the clean energy supply.
Fink has pushed back against the allegations against him. He stated the so-called stakeholder capitalism he partakes in is not political but driven by “mutually beneficial relationships” between companies and their employees, customers, suppliers, and communities needed to prosper.
However, the damage has been done. Aside from Arizona, Texas cut ties with BlackRock after finding it was anti-oil. Other Republican State Treasurers from around the nation, including South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah, divested large sums of money from BlackRock after determining the company was placing its own climate agenda over its responsibility to shareholders. Missouri also joined this effort, with the state’s retirement system withdrawing half a billion dollars worth of pension funds from the company.
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