South Carolina Treasurer takes final action against BlackRock
October 10, 2022
South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis announced that he is divesting the final $200 million of BlackRock holdings from a $5 billion portfolio managed by his office, a move that completes a series of actions taken against BlackRock to reduce its impact on the state’s investment portfolios.
Treasurer Loftis began removing all BlackRock holdings from the state and local government portfolios under his supervision in 2017. He also rejected the global investment firm’s bid to manage a portfolio which now holds more than $40.3 billion in assets for the state because of BlackRock’s increasing focus on promoting progressive Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors as part of its investment strategies.
This summer, Loftis denied the substitution of a BlackRock fund in favor of a less ESG-focused fund managed by a different firm.
“Five years ago, I realized that ESG had the potential to seriously undermine our state’s economic model from one that values fiduciary responsibility and sound financial judgment to one that pushes the left-wing political agenda of ‘stakeholder capitalism’,” Loftis explained.
“As the elected state treasurer, it’s my obligation to our citizens and government agencies to act in their best interests by prudently investing and managing $70 billion in public funds. I am not interested in allowing the whims of CEOs on Wall Street and their special interest friends to supplant the voices of our citizens nor the decisions of their elected representatives.”
Loftis is in active conversations with other large private and public investors about reducing their stakes in BlackRock.
“I have been clear with our financial partners that they will not usurp my fiduciary responsibility to maximize investment returns while accepting a prudent level of risk for the benefit of our citizens,” Loftis added. “It is imperative that we stand up to BlackRock and others to resist the pressure to adopt their Leftist world view.”
According to Loftis, these actions against BlackRock are just one step in protecting South Carolina’s financial interests from self-serving outsiders who have no stake in the well-being of taxpayers or public retirees. He continues to evaluate additional measures that may be taken to further cement the state’s independence from undue influence.