A cohort of United States Senators is scrutinizing asset management firm BlackRock over its intentions behind investment decisions. The group claims that the company utilized state pension funds to influence businesses into complying with global agreements.
“BlackRock appears to use the hard-earned money of our states’ citizens to circumvent the best possible return on investment, as well as their vote,” it said.
Allegations Against BlackRock
Under United States law, a fiduciary — which acts on behalf of another person or group — must put clients’ interests above its own. The fiduciary also has a duty to uphold good faith and trust.
The letter, which was signed by 19 US senators and dated Aug. 4, 2022, has now become publicly accessible. It questions whether BlackRock is putting its climate agenda ahead of US pensioner retirement funds.
Among the signatories include Mark Brnovich, the Attorney General (A.G) of Arizona, Steve Marshall, the A.G. of Alabama, and Ken Paxton, the A.G. of Texas.
According to the document, BlackRocks’ Chief Client Officer, Mark McCombe, previously wrote a letter to numerous US state officials. He outlined BlackRocks’ position on “energy investments with respect to our pension funds.”
However, the Senators believe that many statements made by McCombe conflicted with BlackRock’s previous statements.
The Senators are skeptical over BlackRock’s public plea to climate change. Particularly its commitment to manage “all assets under management to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or so.” The group of government officials believes this may be a way to mask BlackRock’s underlying intentions.
“BlackRock’s belief that the world will require net zero by 2050 could be a pretext to force companies to adopt your preferred climate policies.”
It notes that this would not be the first time these actions would be present. It is the reason why many US states require fiduciaries to “make a reasonable effort to verify facts relevant to the investment.”
Attaining Net-Zero Emissions By 2050 Might Not Be Achievable
The Senators add that governments are not enacting policies mandating net-zero emission requirements.
The Senators cited the International Energy Agency in the letter to bolster their claims. The Agency suggested that the goal may not be as several governments had hoped for in previous times.
“In many cases, pledges have not yet been backed up by the strong and credible near-term policies needed to make them a reality,” the statement noted.
The Senators also drew a line in the sand, asserting their authority, derived by US citizens electing them in power, have the “force of law,” not BlackRock.
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