Treasurer Follows Attorney General’s Lead, Louisiana Divests from BlackRock

Published 10:34 am Thursday, October 6, 2022

BATON ROUGE, LA – In January, Attorney General Jeff Landry called on Treasurer John Schroder to no longer invest with BlackRock Inc. after discovering the firm’s embrace of net-zero emissions policies regarding domestic energy production. Then in August, Attorney General Landry launched an investigation which showed that BlackRock may have violated its fiduciary duty of loyalty owed to their investor-clients in Louisiana – leading to Attorney General Landry issuing legal guidance to the Treasurer. So in response to the State divesting $794M from BlackRock, Attorney General Landry issued the following statement:

“I am grateful the Treasurer heeded my call to push back against BlackRock who seems to prioritize their own agenda on climate change, politics, and other self-interests over their client’s best interests. I hope the Treasurer will continue to stand with me in ensuring entities doing business with our State and her people follow the law and prioritize Louisiana’s people and industry.”

In a previous release:

BATON ROUGE, LA – Louisiana State Treasurer John M. Schroder announced in a letter to BlackRock, Inc. investment firm CEO Larry Fink that he will divest all Treasury funds from BlackRock. He reported that $560M has been removed to date and that a total of $794M will be removed by year’s end.

“This divestment is necessary to protect Louisiana from mandates BlackRock has called for that would cripple our critical energy sector,” said Schroder, who serves as incoming chair of the national State Financial Officers Foundation. “I refuse to spend a penny of Treasury funds with a company that will take food off tables, money out of pockets and jobs away from hardworking Louisianans.”

Schroder said his action is in response to recent reports that BlackRock has urged companies to embrace “net zero” ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investment strategies that would harm our fossil fuel industry, a vital part of our state’s economy. His letter comes following a meeting with BlackRock representatives, whose statements he said directly contradicted public messaging by Fink, including letters to shareholders and other BlackRock corporate communications materials.

In the letter, Schroder points to an overarching fiduciary duty to investors that BlackRock fails to meet. “ESG investing violates Louisiana law on the fiduciary duties which require a sole focus on financial returns for the beneficiaries of state funds,” he wrote. “A focus on political or social goals or placing those goals above the duty to enhance investors’ returns is unacceptable under Louisiana law.”

Schroder acknowledged that BlackRock continues to invest in oil and gas companies. However,  he concluded that it does not counterbalance the investment firm’s stated intent to force those companies—and all others—to adopt ESG-friendly practices, regardless of whether they were in the best interest of their clients.

Treasurer Schroder added that ESG investing is a threat to our country’s founding principles because it allows companies like BlackRock to bypass the democratic process and push political agendas without having to go through the ballot box.

“They are pushing their agendas contrary to the best interests of the people whose money they are using!” said Schroder. “This is a complete disregard for personal liberty.”