A Florida hospital system is considering investing in tobacco companies as a result of the state's new anti-ESG law championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health's pension and investment committee had on its June 28 meeting agenda a vote to terminate its pension and operating funds' investments in State Street Global Advisors' SSGA S&P 500 Index Fund ex-Tobacco and move the assets to the SSGA S&P 500 Index Fund.
Mr. DeSantis, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, signed the anti-ESG law in May, and it requires public entities in the state to make investment decisions based "solely on pecuniary factors" and not include environmental, social and governance considerations.
A memo included with the June 28 pension and investment committee agenda materials said "both the pension and unrestricted funds include a large cap equity index fund, SSGA S&P 500 excluding Tobacco. At the time this investment was selected, the Committee may have considered non-pecuniary factors. Therefore, the Committee should consider a replacement fund, such as the SSGA S&P 500 index fund, at the June Pension and Investment Committee meeting."
According to June 28 system board of commissioners meeting minutes, the board voted to table the action item until the Aug. 30 pension and investment committee meeting.
As of March 31, the Broward Health Unrestricted Fund had $710 million in assets, of which $498 million was invested in the SSGA S&P 500 Index Fund ex-Tobacco; the Broward Health Pension Fund had $389 million in assets, of which $53 million was invested in the SSGA S&P 500 Index Fund ex-Tobacco.
Broward Health spokeswomen Diana Dwyer and Jennifer Smith could not be immediately reached for further information.