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Missouri, last state to leave BlackRock for ESG initiatives: 'Awakened the political agenda'

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FIRST ON FOX: Missouri withdrew $500 million from state pension funds managed by New York-based financial institution BlackRock, based on the company’s environmental and social priorities.

Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick announced first to FOX Business on Tuesday morning that the Missouri State Employee Retirement System (MOSERS), of which he is a member, has sold all public shares held by BlackRock. With the announcement, Missouri joins the growing list of Republic-led states that are leaving BlackRock and other banks for their environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

“This is the right thing to do for Missouri state employees who rely on MOSERS-managed assets for their retirement,” Fitzpatrick told FOX Business. “The duty of trust should remain a top priority for investment managers – a duty some have given up to push a left-wing social and political agenda that has failed to legally succeed on public companies.”

“We must not allow wealth managers like BlackRock, who have shown that they will prioritize setting a vigilant political agenda over the financial interests of their clients, to continue to speak for the state of Missouri,” he continued. “It’s time for all investors to recognize and do something about the massive breach of trust that’s happening right before our eyes.”

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Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick speaks with the Columbia, Missouri Chamber of Commerce in 2019.

Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick speaks with the Columbia, Missouri Chamber of Commerce in 2019. (Columbia Chamber of Commerce/YouTube/Screenshot)

Fitzpatrick added that MOSERS is responsible for managing its assets in a way that prioritizes maximum returns for retirees and taxpayers, and not to steer them towards leftist policies. He said he would continue to prevent tax dollars from being weaponized against state taxpayers.

BlackRock and other major financial institutions such as State Street and Vanguard have led efforts to promote ESG standards over the past few years. The ESG movement aims to promote a green energy transition and left-wing social priorities through the financial sector in general.

Republican states and groups such as the Foundation for Government Fiscal Officials (SFOF) have waged a war against the ESG movement, arguing that it is anti-democratic and hurts taxpayers by forcing investments that do not yield maximum returns for consumers.

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“Missouri State Treasurer Fitzpatrick is taking decisive action to protect the people of Missouri by disposing of pension funds from BlackRock, which has weaponized the ESG by forcing radical climate and social policies under the guise of an investment strategy,” SFOF CEO Derek Kreifels said on Tuesday. said. “BlackRock’s reckless agenda is to steal Americans’ retirement dollars and increase costs from the gas pump to the grocery store.”

SFOF has successfully organized a coalition of state treasurers over the past few months to leverage pension schemes and government investments to discourage banks from pursuing an ESG agenda. West Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas and North Dakota have backed out against the ESG movement.

“Treasurer Fitzpatrick is the last of the growing government officials to take action to show their states’ citizens that they are willing to do whatever it takes to protect their financial well-being from BlackRock’s dishonest investment strategy,” said Will Hild. The managing director of Consumer Research, a consumer group that has raised the alarm about how ESG policies are hurting taxpayers, told FOX Business.

“In addition to the fact that BlackRock prioritizes politics over profit, the primary role they play in cripple American energy companies and plunge our nation into the current energy crisis,” Hild said. “BlackRock’s ESG expedition has hurt American consumers financially and will leave many Americans struggling to heat their homes this winter.”

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BlackRock did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But in September, the company wrote a stern letter to 19 Republican attorneys general, threatening to take action against it because of its ESG policies.

“We are disturbed by the rising trend of political initiatives that sacrifice pension schemes’ access to high-quality investments and thus jeopardize the financial returns of retirees,” the firm said at the time.

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