DeSantis' administration will freeze almost $2 billion worth of assets belonging to BlackRock


Governor DeSantis and his administration will pull about $2 billion worth of assets managed by BlackRock, following in the same footsteps as Louisiana and Missouri.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.Photo byGage Skidmore / Flickr

The state of Florida is pulling $2 billion worth of state assets managed by BlackRock, escalating the conflict between Republicans and the largest money management in the world over its policies regarding ESG investments.

This is the latest lashing out by Republicans at "woke" corporations and money managers and pledged to roll back the $40 trillion ESG investing business.

Republicans have long believed that liberals are using environmental, social, and corporate governance investing strategies to advance an ideological agenda that would be voted down at the ballot box.

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida plays a central role in the Republican insurrection, while BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is his recent target going after corporations.

BlackRock, which manages $8 trillion in assets, published a statement that accused the state of Florida of placing political considerations ahead of performance considerations.

In their statement, the firm said:

As a fiduciary, everything we do is with the sole goal of driving returns for our clients. We are surprised by the Florida CFO's decision, given the strong returns BlackRock has delivered to Florida taxpayers over the last five years. We are disturbed by the emerging trend of political initiatives that sacrifice access to high-quality investments and thereby jeopardize returns, ultimately hurting Florida's citizens.

While BlackRock has urged portfolio businesses to reveal more data about their carbon emissions or appoint more diverse board members, it has stated its initiatives are targeted at enhancing company performance and opposed requests for steps like divesting from oil companies.

So far, only Republican-controlled states have made large reallocations away from BlackRock, including $794 million taken by Louisiana's treasurer and $500 million by Missouri's treasurer, both in October.

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