Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis cited BlackRock's ESG initiatives in terminating the manager from the state's Treasury division long-duration portfolio, but has made no similar actions against the portfolio's other managers for their ESG initiatives.
Among the 11 other external managers in the long-duration portfolio, 10 managers are listed as signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing on the UN's website. The first of those principles is: "We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes."
The managers all signed the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing between 2006 and 2021. Two managers, Amundi and Insight Investment, are also signatories on the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, a group that has committed to support the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius and to support investing aligned with achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 or sooner.
In a news release Thursday, Mr. Patronis said he is terminating BlackRock due to what he terms as CEO Laurence D. Fink's "campaign to change the world" in utilizing environmental, social and governance standards.
"Using our cash, however, to fund BlackRock's social-engineering project isn't something Florida ever signed up for. It's got nothing to do with maximizing returns and is the opposite of what an asset manager is paid to do. Florida's Treasury Division is divesting from BlackRock because they have openly stated they've got other goals than producing returns," Mr. Patronis said in the news release.
The other 10 managers and the amount they managed in the long-duration portfolio as of March 31, according to its most recent available investment report, are Galliard Capital Management, $1.6 billion; Sterling Capital Management, $1.6 billion; Fidelity Investments, $1.4 billion; Manulife Investment Management, $1.2 billion; Amundi, $1.2 billion; PGIM Fixed Income, $1.1 billion; Western Asset Management Co., $901 million; Goldman Sachs Asset Management, $824 million; Nuveen, $430 million; and Insight Investment, $231 million.
Mr. Patronis did not say what actions, if any, he would take on any other managers who have publicly made commitments to integrate ESG factors into their investment processes.
Devin Galetta, Mr. Patronis's spokesman, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.