Texas Pulls $8.5 Billion from Larry Fink’s BlackRock in a Bold Move Against ESG’s Approach

Texas is ending its substantial $8.5 billion investment with BlackRock, a trillion-dollar asset manager, citing the company’s alleged boycott of energy companies. 

Texas Ends $8.5B BlackRock Investment

This was first revealed in an announcement to FOX Business by Aaron Kinsey, the Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, who mentioned that the Texas Permanent School Fund (PSF) notified BlackRock of their decision on Tuesday.

Aligning with State Law

Kinsey explained that this step aligns with a 2021 state law aimed at keeping the state’s significant financial resources away from banks that shun the oil and gas industry.

Protecting Texas Schools

Aaron Kinsey stated on Tuesday that the Texas Permanent School Fund is committed to its responsibility of protecting Texas schools by ensuring the annual oil and gas royalties, which amount to approximately $1 billion and are managed by the Texas General Land Office, are well protected and expanded. 

By ending its contract with BlackRock, the fund adheres strictly to Texas law. 

Criticism of BlackRock’s ESG Leadership

Kinsey criticized BlackRock for its leading role in the ESG movement, claiming it significantly harms Texas’s oil and gas economy and the very companies that contribute to the PSF’s revenues. 

Upholding Texas’ Financial Obligations

He emphasized that Texas and the PSF have worked to enhance this fund to support the state’s schools, arguing that BlackRock’s adverse stance on the energy sector is fundamentally at odds with their obligation to the people of Texas.

A Hefty Share

The decision to withdraw funds from BlackRock constitutes a significant portion of the $53 billion Texas Permanent School Fund (PSF), a fund established in the 19th century to bolster the state’s public education system. 

Largest Divestment Against ESG

This move marks the largest divestment of its kind as Republican-led states have started to sever financial relationships with BlackRock and other institutions promoting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles. 

The ESG Controversy

ESG, gaining traction lately, advocates for shifting investments from traditional energy sectors to renewable ones to combat global warming. Nonetheless, this approach has encountered considerable opposition from the energy sector and legislators at both state and federal levels.

Senate Bill 13 

In response to opposition, Texas enacted Senate Bill 13 in 2021, mandating that the state comptroller compile a list of financial entities that boycott fossil fuel companies. 

Texas Names BlackRock in List

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, updating this list in October, named BlackRock and several of its managed funds, urging the Texas Permanent School Fund and five state pension funds to cut financial ties with the asset manager. 

A Step Towards Financial Independence

Aaron Kinsey highlighted on Tuesday that this move is a significant advancement for both the Texas PSF and the state at large, highlighting that this represents a significant step in dedication to safeguarding the financial future from the harmful influences of Wall Street. 

This decisive action, according to Kinsey, provides continued support and opportunities for future generations of Texas students.

BlackRock’s Defense and Initiatives

BlackRock, with over $10 trillion in assets under management, has recently defended itself against claims of boycotting energy firms. The company points out its continued investment in traditional energy sectors, emphasizing that it incorporates environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations to meet a variety of client investment goals. 

Last year, BlackRock also teamed up with Occidental Petroleum on a carbon capture initiative in Ector County, Texas. 

Investing in Texas

A spokesperson for BlackRock informed FOX Business that the firm plays a crucial role in aiding Texans with their investment and retirement savings, investing over $300 billion in Texas-based companies, infrastructure, and local government entities.

$125 Billion Energy Bet

These investments include $125 billion in the energy industry, highlighted by a $550 million collaboration with Occidental. Additionally, BlackRock recently organized an energy summit in Houston aimed at discussing enhancements to Texas’ electrical grid.

Praise for Texas’ Stand Against ESG

Texas’ move received applause from Derek Kreifels, CEO of the State Financial Officers Foundation, and Will Hild, Executive Director of Consumers’ Research, both leading figures in the national fight against ESG policies. 

Against the Radical Ideologies

Kreifels stated that the decision shows what happens when public officials fulfill their duties instead of giving in to Wall Street, which uses its influence to push radical ideas.

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