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Seattle City Employees puts BlackRock on watch over ESG concerns

Seattle City Employees' Retirement System placed BlackRock (BLK), which runs a $339 million passive international equity portfolio for the pension fund, on watch, said Jason Malinowski, chief investment officer, in an email.

The $2.3 billion pension fund put BlackRock on watch at its Dec. 8 board meeting due to environmental, social and governance concerns, meeting minutes said.

According to the minutes, the pension fund's staff has concerns about what they term as BlackRock's “reticence to oppose management, limited focus on environmental and social issues, inconsistency between their proxy voting record with their policies and public pronouncements and limited transparency on investment stewardship activities.”

Brian Beades, BlackRock spokesman, could not be immediately reached to provide comment.