Florida Treasury Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis has written to the State Board of Administration (SBA) recommending that it transitions away from BlackRock as one of the state’s asset management firms.
In the December 7 letter to SBA Interim Executive Director and Chief Investment Officer Lamar Taylor, Patronis stated that it is “difficult to imagine a scenario” where the SBA can continue its partnership with BlackRock. “There are other firms in this space and BlackRock is not entitled to our pension funds,” the letter reads.
The SBA currently overseas more than $217 billion in investments and is primarily responsible for investing the proceeds of the Florida Retirement System Pension Plan, as well as managing the Florida Retirement Investment Plan, among other areas.
The recommendation to transition away follows a December 1 announcement by Petronis that the state treasury would begin the process of divesting $2 billion in assets from BlackRock.
In his letter to the SBA, Petronis reaffirmed this decision arguing that BlackRock’s ESG standards are “undemocratic and loaded with ideology that has led to certain bone-headed decisions,” adding that it is “a tool for weaponizing corporate America against our democratic institutions.”
“Ultimately we manage taxpayer funds and I do not feel comfortable using these dollars as part of an ESG project,” the state treasury’s CFO contended.