JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri has withdrawn $500 million of state employees’ pension funds from BlackRock Inc. over the firm’s prioritizing of left-wing social and environmental interests over those of shareholders.
State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick announced the move in a statement Tuesday, saying the divestment of Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS) from BlackRock has been in the works since June.
“This is the right thing to do for Missouri state employees who rely on the assets managed by MOSERS for their retirement,” said Fitzpatrick, also the Republican nominee for state auditor. “Fiduciary duty must remain the top priority for investment managers, a duty some of them have abdicated in favor of forcing a left-wing social and political agenda that has failed to succeed legislatively, on publicly traded companies.”
While pursuing environmental and left-leaning priorities has become a trend for major investment firms such as BlackRock and Vanguard, Republican-led states have begun withdrawing assets managed by these companies, arguing that prioritizing maximum returns should be the top priority.
Missouri is already the second state this month to part ways with BlackRock over its environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives; Louisiana pulled $794 million of state funds from the firm on Oct. 5.
“We should not allow asset managers such as BlackRock, who have demonstrated that they will prioritize advancing a woke political agenda above the financial interests of their customers, to continue speaking on behalf of the state of Missouri,” Fitzpatrick continued.
Other conservative states that have pushed back on the left-wing ESG movement are West Virginia, Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas and North Dakota.
“It is past time that all investors recognize the massive fiduciary breach that is taking place before our eyes, and do something about it,” Fitzpatrick said. “As treasurer and as a member of the MOSERS Board, I will continue fighting for Missourians to stop their tax dollars from being weaponized against them.”