The Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick has announced that the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS) has sold its equities managed by BlackRock, worth approximately $500 million.
In a Tuesday statement, Fitzpatrick confirmed that MOSERS has completed the sale of all its holdings with BlackRock, with the funds now primarily managed by NISA, a St. Louis-based investment manager.
Fitzpatrick explained that the decision was influenced by BlackRock’s alleged refusal to align with MOSERS board of trustees’ demand to abstain from voting in the pension plan’s proxies due to concerns with the investment manager’s “public statements and record of prioritizing ESG initiatives over shareholder return.”
In June, Fitzpatrick called on the board to remove proxy voting power from specific asset managers to protect MOSERS funds.
“Fiduciary duty must remain the top priority for investment managers—a duty some of them have abdicated in favor of forcing a left wing social and political agenda that has failed to succeed legislatively, on publicly traded companies,” Treasurer Fitzpatrick argued.
Fitzpatrick stressed that the state will not allow asset managers to “prioritize advancing a woke political agenda above the financial interests of their customers” and vowed to “continue fighting for Missourians to stop their tax dollars from being weaponized against them.”
The action by Missouri is the latest in a series of divestments from the fund manager, while BlackRock continues to vehemently deny boycotting the energy industry.