Larry Fink
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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Call it putting lipstick on a pig, rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, or whatever else. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink isn’t concerned with the actual discriminatory investment strategy his firm executes. Instead, he’s upset the world’s largest investment asset manager is caught up in the growing anti-ESG pushback that’s impacting his bottom line now that Americans are paying more attention to the ruse.

Fink revealed at the Aspen Ideas Festival that he’s “ashamed” to be a part of the ESG “debate.” If you thought he might change the direction of BlackRock’s investment strategies, think again. Fink would rather just change the verbiage.

‘Conscientious’ Wordsmithing

BlackRock manages more than $10 trillion in assets for investors. That’s a lot of money and with such a large piggybank under his control, Fink bought into the ESG movement. That’s the environmental, social and governance investment strategy that started popping up more frequently about 10 or 12 years ago where activist investment managers began sacrificing their fiduciary responsibilities to maximize shareholder returns to instead abdicate that role in favor of forcing a left-wing social and political agenda that has failed to succeed legislatively.

Under the Obama administration, an initiative called “Operation Choke Point” was launched by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to stop financial institutions from offering services to some regulated industries in an attempt to throttle banking services. This operation, which represented an abuse of the agencies’ statutory authority, was first aimed at non-depository lenders (so-called payday lenders) but expanded to target ammunition and firearm sales, tobacco sales and pharmaceutical sales, among other industries. President Donald Trump’s administration put an end to the practice, though today ESG strategies have been privatized.

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Fast forward to today. BlackRock is guilty of pushing ESG strategies, as are numerous major banks and investment institutions as well. Fink was questioned about his firm’s devotion to ESG strategies at the Aspen Ideas Festival and initially told the crowd, “I’m ashamed of being part of this conversation. I’m not going to use the word ESG because it’s been misused by the far left and the far right,” he said.

Fink was later pressed again on being ashamed of his firm’s position. When pushed on his statement, he reversed course. “I never said I was ashamed. I do believe in conscientious capitalism.”

States Taking Anti-ESG Stands

Fink might have been caught tongue-tied on his firm’s approach to ESG, but the bottom line reveals the impact and the pushback BlackRock has felt. Fink acknowledged to the crowd that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision in 2022 to pull $2 billion in state assets from BlackRock because of the “woke” ESG investment agenda hurt the firm. Gov. DeSantis wasn’t alone in taking a strong stance against the flawed investment approach.

Last October, Missouri Attorney General Scott Fitzpatrick divested $500 million in assets managed by BlackRock on behalf of the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS). AG Fitzpatrick criticized BlackRock’s blind commitment to ESG principles, noting that “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.”

South Carolina’s Treasurer Curtis Loftis said he would remove $200 million of state retirement funds from BlackRock control by December. Louisiana’s treasurer John Schroder told Financial Times that he would divest $794 million from BlackRock as well. Additionally, Utah and Arkansas committed to pull $100 million and $125 million, respectively, from BlackRock over concerns that the firm prioritizes ESG principles over sound fiduciary management of state funds.

Asset manager BlackRock Inc said on Friday it is pressing gunmakers and weapons retailers in its portfolios to explain how they monitor firearm sales and use, and it is studying the creation of new index-based portfolios of stocks that would exclude gunmakers and retailers.

Utah’s Treasurer Marlo Oaks said, “We need to ensure that the money is not being used to drive a separate agenda different from our obligation” to maximize benefits to Utah residents, not left-wing climate agendas.

The ESG pushback doesn’t end there. In early August of last year, 19 state attorneys general sent a joint letter to Fink voicing similar concerns that the company’s ESG agenda hampers its ability to deliver a maximum return on investment for its shareholders.

It’s been an anti-woke, anti-ESG tidal wave building and the release is being felt by the likes of Fink, BlackRock and others.

Federal Protection

The states haven’t been alone in taking strong stands against discriminatory banking and lending practices against the firearm industry. Federal legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Firearm Industry Nondiscrimination (FIND) Act to end the ability of corporate entities to profit from taxpayer-funded federal contracts while discriminating against a Constitutionally-protected industry at the same time. That bill, H.R. 53, was introduced by U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) and had 55 original cosponsors.

In the U.S. Senate, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) has led the effort by introducing companion FIND Act legislation. Still other federal efforts have led to bills being introduced to bar credit card companies from creating a special merchant category code (MCC) to track lawful firearm-related purchases at firearm retailers. The major credit card companies have backed off that effort after NSSF-led efforts in the states and federal level.

Major banking and lending institutions are realizing they’re on notice. Law-abiding Americans aren’t going to tolerate covert discrimination and back-door boardroom politics that restricts their Constitutional rights, especially the Second Amendment. If they don’t change course, banking CEOs will continue to see their bottom lines taking hits.

 

Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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51 COMMENTS

  1. All individuals and states need to take their money out of Black rock and put the hurt on it. Fink still has people to answer to for loosing money. Budweiser them.

  2. California as a bill pending that would require MCC coding, despite the fact that all firearms transactions and all ammunition transactions are already reported to the state and subjected to background checks. Woke agenda run amok.

  3. ESG is just one more of those crazy conspiracy theories that doesn’t exist until it does then you’re a bigot for questioning it so they relabel it and pretend you didn’t notice then act like it’s always been this way.

    Kinda like CRT, aspartame, the definition of “vaccine”, what a woman is, etc…..

    • Look at what happened to Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert, when he made a series of strips ridiculing corporate ESG scores. He was given the cancel treatment and had to back down when his syndication was canceled.

      One thing to remember is l3ftists do not have a sense of humor. Being ridiculed is a major insult and a challenge to the core of their beliefs. It why the former USSR and modern China punish “dissidents” so harshly.

  4. ESG has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of agenda, other than an easy fast buck.
    Once you’ve chosen to have your money invested in a “socially conscious” portfolio, instead of a portfolio focused on gains or financial protections, your broker and everyone in that chain is now far less responsible for losses. They get to charge the same fees, sometimes more, and don’t have the same fiduciary responsibility. Of course they love it.

    • Fink. What an apt moniker🙄 Isn’t BR the biggest beneficiary in Ukraine?!??? Other than the comedian in chief…

    • On the whole the risks are the same, they’re just different.

      If someone chooses to go ESG then the broker is on the hook for new and different risks that most of them don’t really understand. A company gets caught “greenwashing” in an ESG fund and the fund managers are on the hook. Same if they fail to do due diligence on how a CEI score is obtained.

      There’s also a ton of questions of how to insure those who trade other people’s money in ESG to boot.

      The reason the major companies love this is because it gets their pet projects serviced and gives them mob-like control over major corporations. Provided that the public doesn’t catch on in a major way, the scam can go on for a long time because the major investment institutions cover each other for flows that retail can’t hope to match unless they all wake up at once.

      The simultaneous ability to instantly knee-cap a company on both their revolving credit and their stock price means that you’re not going to get too many squealers. Just like the mob when they lock down a neighborhood. No one talks because they know what happens.

  5. Personally wealthy people are not ashamed to gamble with other peoples money.

  6. I absolutely detest Masters of the Universe like Fink who use the power of other people’s money as leverage to force their ideas of societal change on the rest of us.

  7. Gotta love DeSantis. I get a check from the Florida Retirement System every month. I worked hard for it. Like he said, “Florida is where woke comes to die.”

    • It would be nice if he wasn’t the first politician to have a campaign use flat-out AI deepfakes, get caught doing it, not apologize for it then attack anyone who points it out. Then there’s the rest of what his team does. It’s like they’re actually working for someone else.

      The result is a great governor with a dogshit comms team who are damaging his campaign. It keeps up and they’ll sink him entirely.

      Everyone behind the DeSantis War Room should be fired and then probably fired out of a cannon into the ocean. They’re youth league at best and if they keep doing what they’re doing they’ll damage DeSantis forever. Those morons couldn’t win a high school student government race.

      He needs to fire most of his political team ASAP. Unless of course he really doesn’t want to be in this cycle. But if that’s the case he needs to bow out soon-ish and start to prep for a later cycle.

  8. Blackrock owns a piece of every politician on both sides, and every stock in this nation….

    • Between Blackrock, State Street and Vanguard (which all own large pieces of each other) they own a large chunk of pretty much every major company that matters. Generally following a 7/7/7 pattern so they end up owning around 21% combined.

      They also work with lending agencies in the credit markets behind the scenes. Between the two methods, they’ve got most companies over the ESG barrel from multiple angles.

      Which is why a company like AB InBev keeps doubling down and a company like Target, North Face, Harley Davidson or Ford do what they do.

      “Nice stock you’ve got there, sure would be a shame if something happened to it. Oh, and about your revolving line of credit…”

  9. Okay, I just seen one of them invisible flying bugs I keep telling everyone about. They are so tiny you wonder how they can fly.
    If I could only catch one, I could prove they exist.
    I bet thems what’s got into my box of neutrinos, I kept wondering what was happening to them, those invisible flying bugs must be eating them, shhhht. RaidFlying insect killer?

    • Yes, you’ve noticed more bites lately, and there’s a reason:

      “Climate change makes pests move north from the tropics – study
      Insect swarms from warmer regions near the equator branching out to new locations they would have previously found too cold
      Press Association
      Mon 2 Sep 2013 08.28 EDT“

      Here, we have midges that bite and leave a blister and inflammation, midges that we never had before. We’re also overrun with multiple types of ticks, that have never been here before.

      The wealthy industrialists are destroying our ecology for their profit, and the rest of us will suffer the consequences of their mindless greed.

      Like the article above says, the only thing that matters is profit on your investment, society and healthy environment get the fuck out of the way so I can make some money to buy more useless plastic garbage made by slaves in China.

      “Today, if Wal-Mart were a country, it would be one of China’s top ten trading partners. The company acknowledges it imports $15 billion in goods from China each year. Bracy concedes the figure could be much higher, and will keep on growing.

      And you can see how Wal-Mart’s trading relationship with China is transforming America at the port of Long Beach in California.

      Five thousand ships arrive in the port of Long Beach every year. Officials here estimate 80 percent carry Chinese products.
      Yvonne Smith, the director of communications for the port of Long Beach

      “Thirty-six billion comes through Long Beach from China alone. Consumer products,” says Yvonne Smith, the director of communications for the port of Long Beach.“

      See you at Walmart!

      1 Timothy 6:10 KJV

      For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.“

      • Yet you (left wing pretend anti-capitalist) support policies designed to send industry out of this country where there are no environmental regulations (or worker protections). It’s almost like you never think these things through. The capitalists appreciate your help.

        • You seem to assume that s/he/it believes in climate change and doesn’t simply see what you call the “bugs” in the plan as the features.

          As Francis Fox Piven, of Cloward & Piven fame, has pointed out, there are lots of different ways to taxidermy a housecat. They’re all just different flavors of the original plan to “overwhelm” the system.

          Intentional overregulation as a mechanism to do this is something Lefty academics have kicked around since, at least, the 1980’s.

        • I do think he believes in climate change. He posts these types of comments looking for the believe/don’t believe fight over “climate change.” Idiot Republicans screwed up this debate by spending years refusing to admit the temperature might be rising. Miner is still stuck on this part of the debate.

          This is similar to the idiot Republicans screwing up the “gay” debate. They pushed an entire generation of people away with that. Okay fine, you’re a “Christian” so hoe_moe is wrong. Why don’t you ever talk about adultery? How about hetero secksual immorality?

          I understand the devious nature you’re referring to. I think most people like Miner are nothing more than regime drones who are for the latest thing that they’re told to be for. They don’t think their positions through. They run on emotion which makes them easier to manipulate.

        • I think most people like Miner are nothing more than regime drones who are for the latest thing that they’re told to be for.

          What causes you to assign human consciousness to that account?

          The cut+paste strategy is bot behavior from a decade ago. Vlad used the same, but in a less obvious and slightly harder to detect manner.

          It’s either a bot or an NPC. Either way, it’s not a person and it’s certainly not worth engaging with. Regardless of technical human/non-human status, it will not take over if left on its own. It will wither. The psychology of message boards is pretty well studied. Noobs won’t show up and believe what “it” says because people who are exploring new intellectual spaces look for comments that get rational responses or seem to lay out an actual argument.

          Hence my use of s/he/it, which if you read it aloud, comes out as pretty damn close to “shit”. That phonetic outcome not just some happy coincidence.

        • Okay now that’s funny. I’m using that. Miner’s a real person. S/he/it isn’t a bot, and doesn’t get paid to post this crap either which makes s/he/it’s comments even more pathetic. S/he/it will occasionally speak normally about music, firearms, and other subjects. I’ve had a few longish conversations with s/he/it in the past. (I won’t bother anymore.) I had one in particular years ago that spanned days after everyone else left the page. The facade broke. S/he/it is a real person. That’s why I said I hold out hope for s/he/it (as I would for anyone) even though I don’t think it’s realistic that anything changes.

          S/he/it isn’t just some ideologue. S/he/it is fueled by hatred for Republicans, and especially Christian Republicans. The reason s/he/it mostly speaks in copy-paste is because s/he/it doesn’t bother with personal analysis. The only “original thought” that matters to s/he/it is that Republicans bad. So Miner thinks s/he/it’s spreading the good news when s/he/it reads an article or comment that appears to make Republicans or Christians look bad. It’s a sad situation.

          There will always be people around being introduced to new ideas. If you live in the world of MSM, then you don’t hear these dissents. I was that person. I still know people like that. I’m not saying we always have to push back against s/he/it, but I think it’s an occasional worthwhile endeavor.

      • If I had my way every one of those container ships would be turned back. You’re slipping Miner, you actually sounded a little conservative there. Also we would be going nuclear if I had my way. You want green energy there it is.

        • Miner basically admitted that the “environmental” movement is a sham. If they were really concerned, they would want industry in the US where we have much better environmental regs, not to mention labor regs. They would also be for nuclear and hydroelectric energy instead of being so focused on making China rich from buying up batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines.

        • “Also we would be going nuclear if I had my way. You want green energy there it is.“

          Nuclear? The gift that keeps on giving.

          Ask them how that’s working for them in Fukushima. Or Chernobyl.

          “The United States Government Accountability Office reported more than 150 incidents from 2001 to 2006 of nuclear plants not performing within acceptable safety guidelines. According to a 2010 survey of energy accidents, there have been at least 56 accidents at nuclear reactors in the United States (defined as incidents that either resulted in the loss of human life or more than US$50,000 of property damage“

        • “56 accidents at nuclear reactors”

          56 huh? Now compare and contrast that with the world ending due to climate change in…what is it now 5 years (unless we give our overlords more money and power to “stop it”)?

          Our nuclear reactors are pretty old. Do you think there have been any breakthroughs in technology and safety in the past 40 years? Considering the pace of current tech innovation, do you reckon there will be more breakthroughs in the near future? You don’t think these things through, do you? You’re told they’re bad, so they’re bad. End of discussion.

        • Come on Miner you can do better. How many have died due to natural gas in their homes? There is a point where everyone realizes the risks are worth it. You hold people accountable and do the best you can to increase safety standards just like the automobile industry does.

  10. Isn’t it funny how the “rebellious and independent-thinking” Lefties are on the same side as Wall Street, Big Pharma, Big Tech, Big Media, Academia, the UN, and the federal bureaucracy including the Other Agency Which Shall Not Be Named? They’re monkeys who obediently jump when they’re told to jump. The trick is to make them think they’re edgy, rebellious progressives.

    • The left does not exist anymore. Corporate billionaires bought it out. What remains is another version of corporate fascism.

      The foot soldiers are just too damn stupid to realized they serve wealthy white men now.

      • There’s a point on the spectrum where you get the edge cases between left-leaning Classical Liberals and the actual Left.

        You’re discussing the former, at least in terms of the vocal folks. The actual Left was always authoritarian. They haven’t changed their views, merely their tactics. They went from pure Leninism to a more Maoist flavor in the culture and a more Gramscian/Foucaultian methodology in terms of corporations and government agencies based on their experience experimenting with Alinsky (major government agencies/companies) and Freire (education specifically).

        This ain’t your grampa’s communism. It’s a new breed. Just as dangerous but smart and more insidious in the methods it uses to gain power.

        Welcome to the cultural revolution, American style. You’ve been living it for years. And the hard truth is that, on most fronts, you’re losing badly and have been for decades.

        • The revolutionaries also think they’re anti-capitalism. Like JWM said, they’re too dumb to realize they’re on the same side.

        • The billionaires aren’t pro-capitalism either.

          So… they are on the same side. It’s the Liberals who believe in some sort of free market that got the boot, and mostly, they do know it.

        • They’re pro-China style capitalists. They believe in a select few pro-regime guys keeping all of the wealth. They already made their fortune. They don’t want to give the little guy a shot. This is why I make fun of “for the little guy” Democrats.

      • They are lost in the trappings of their rev0lution and wouldn’t really care who they served as long as they can massacre class enemies and take all that loot to redistribute to themselves.

  11. “That’s a lot of money and with such a large piggybank under his control, Fink bought into the ESG movement.”

    More like he figured out how to join the largest [currently] legal blackmail scheme in the world, use other people’s money to fund it, and he hopes to make a mint and a half from it by upending fiduciary responsibility, shorting the companies he forces into this bullshit and then buying the companies cheap on the dip.

    Wait ’til you find out what he has planned for “private real estate” in the form of single family dwellings.

    Or what they’re doing to cities via MEI.

    If you’re not already steaming mad, heads on pikes if they don’t stop soon sorta mad, then you’re either not paying attention or this goes over your head.

    • Didn’t even hear about MEI yet but looking at Albany’s score of 92 I can quickly see inverse in relation to likelihood to thrive economically for both residents and city.

      • If you go back to the UKFires thing I posted a few weeks ago you’ll find that the plan here is to select “winners” in advance and put them on corporate welfare.

        The carrot is that the companies that play ball up front get monopolies in the “new future” and fully subsidized even though they can’t do anything, probably for decades until then.

        The stick is that those that don’t simply get bankrupted by regulation or seized and closed because they get poor ESG scores, falling down on the G part.

        The same general playbook applies to municipalities but the entryism comes from MEI instead of CEI. Either one is a component of a DEI score, which goes into calculating the S in ESG.

        You can see how they’ve started to beat on Target and Budweiser with this. Both companies will have increased borrowing costs for short term loans going forward unless they get back on the wagon.

        • So much like the last financial crisis riggings and bailouts abound and more distractions and divisions to keep us distracted from the international bankers……again.

        • @tsbhoa.p.jr

          Yes. It has numerous facets being gamed by various groups but ultimately it’s a way to get what amount to Commissars injected into private companies.

          In that regard, it’s very, very much like the CCP’s placement of .gov agents in all large companies as the ultimate arbiters of what that company can do. This does the same thing via the creation of a DEI sub-department within HR or another department. But anyone watching DEI offices over the past five or so years realizes that they rapidly grow to take over that department and then become their own department that basically controls everything that matters within a company.

          All to get and keep that ESG score, which is really a social credit score for the company. But it’s also an employment scam for the DEI folks. You basically have to hire them and, of course, they demand that more of their ilk then be hired.

          @SAFE:

          IMHO, what most would consider the “international bankers” (large private banks and financial institutions) are just glomming on to this because they view it as a life raft in the midst of a splintering world and the obvious coming failure of fiat currency worldwide. That’s due in large part to the way that the Eurozone has legally organized bond issuances and created rules for retirement investment. But it’s a house of cards no matter how you cut it. .gov regulation/law might keep it going a bit longer by forcing the injection of more capital but ultimately, that’s just blowing the bubble bigger before the inevitable happens.

          The real problem, in a way, I would argue is central bankers who have used fiat and leverage to “pull growth forward” using debt but have done so irresponsibly to the point that pretty much every currency will collapse under the weight of the quadrillion+ in leveraged and derivative based debt the world has run up. This was mostly done to cover up the fact that governments worldwide have been, well frankly, stupid about their fiscal and economic policies for decades. I mean, just for example: Adjusted for inflation and compared to assets anyone GAF about, Americans haven’t gained a penny in real wages since 1972.

          It has therefore been necessary to pull growth forward from the future, the entire reason loans exist at base, in a very slipshod way and to do so at an increasing pace. But there seems to be a limit to that capacity, hitting the wall ~30 years into the future. Then it all comes apart. Mostly that due to the fact that at some point this whole thing becomes an obvious ponzi and it becomes impossible to find new suckers.

          Contained therein is a warning to retirees, particularly the “Boomers” who have been placed in a very awkward position financially, politically and ultimately existentially, seemingly with few of them realizing it. Paper gains for the plebs ultimately end up being the big boys real-world gains when your net worth evaporates like smoke on the breeze.

          While I’m not sure why people love the labels so much (ok, that’s not true, I do but that’s a long post on psychology in-and-of itself) the “Boomers” fate is already calculated and the historic example set. 34% of Boomers are 100% reliant on Social Security and Medicare to cover their retirement. 90% of Boomers are 50% reliant or more.

          And Greece showed just a few years ago how this goes. The first move is to cut all those programs by 50%. But Greece also didn’t use a sovereign currency, rather they used the Euro so this was dictated by the ECB which ultimately used the “Northern” European countries to offset the inflation created by Southern Europe. We in the US (nor in any country using sovereign currency) have no such luxury. So as the USD inflates and interest payments on the debt rise to astronomical levels the first move will be to slash SS and Medicare. Then cut them to the bone again with inflation raging the whole time.

          Ultimately, this is about the distinction between “currency” and “assets” and the preferred classes of asset. Something, it appears, 95% of people know fuck-all about because most of them believe fairy tales packaged and sold to them for decades. But the fact that a lie survives doesn’t make it true, it’s just a long-lived lie.

          It all comes back, ultimately, to something I said to Geoff a while back. There is no money to be found anywhere in the world. None. There are currencies and there are assets. These can be traded but without actual money both become a sucker’s game very fast if you’re not paying very, very close attention. Which, so far as I can tell, the vast, vast, vast majority of Westerners are not.

          And when you climb to extreme heights and fail to pay attention, a fall is inevitable. And it’s one hell of a fall when you’re up that high.

  12. Anyone else notice the pin Fink is wearing on his left lapel (your right looking at the pic) in the pic with the article?

    Speaks volumes, catering to (indulging in) the left-wing liberal mental illness.

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