Florida earmarks $2 billion from BlackRock for the firm’s ESG push

Florida has divested investment giant BlackRock, becoming the latest state to divest assets from the firm based on its environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies.

Sunshine State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced Thursday that the Florida Treasury will immediately begin removing nearly $2 billion in assets from BlackRock’s control in a process that should be completed by the end of the year.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis speaks before introducing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at a rally for Florida Republicans at Cheyenne Hall on November 7, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images/Getty Images)

“Using Florida cash to fund BlackRock’s social engineering project is not something we signed up for,” Patronis said in the announcement. “It has nothing to do with increasing returns and is the opposite of what an asset manager is paid to do.”

“Stakeholder capitalism or ESG standards, whether pushed by BlackRock for ideological reasons or to improve social credit ratings, result in an avoidance of dealing with the ugliness of democracy,” Patronis said in a separate statement. “I think it’s undemocratic for major asset managers to use their power to influence public outcomes.”


The Florida finance director blasted BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, saying, “If Larry or his friends on Wall Street want to change the world, run for office. Start a nonprofit. Donate to causes you care about.”

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink speaks at the New York Times DealBook Summit in the Appel Room at Jazz At Lincoln Center on November 30, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/Getty Images)

BlackRock pushed back on the move, saying it was “surprised by the Florida CFO’s decision given the strong returns it has provided to Florida taxpayers over the past five years.”

In an email to FOX Business, the company said neither Patronis nor anyone from his office raised any performance concerns, calling the move political.

“We are concerned about the emerging trend of policy initiatives like these that sacrifice access to high-quality investments and jeopardize revenues that will ultimately hurt Florida citizens,” BlackRock said. “Fiduciaries should always value performance over politics.”


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 works broadly promote a green energy transition and left social priorities through the financial sector.

Republican states and groups like the Public Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) have waged war on the ESG movement, arguing that it is anti-democratic and harmful to taxpayers by pushing investments that do not maximize returns for consumers.

BlackRock headquarters in New York

BlackRock offices in New York. The company and nine others have been singled out by Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar as hostile to the state’s fossil fuel sector. (LightRocket via Eric McGregor/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Ticker Safety End Change Change %
BLK BLACKROCK INC. 722.18 +6.18 +0.86%

Florida is the latest GOP-led state to divest from BlackRock, following Missouri and Louisiana, which both announced significant divestments from the firm in October.

But BlackRock has also faced threats from the left for not being more aggressive on its ESG standards.

In September, New York City’s comptroller accused the firm of not doing enough to fight climate change and of issuing a veiled threat that the city would “reevaluate our business relationships with all of our asset managers, including BlackRock.” climate commitments.”


Still, the divestment from BlackRock is unlikely to have a financial impact on the world’s largest investment firm, with roughly $8 trillion in assets under management.

FOX Business’ Thomas Catenacci and Reuters contributed to this report.

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