Expert: Asset Managers Using State Pensions to Push ‘Racial Equity Audits’, Green Energy Schemes
Paul Fitzpatrick, the president of the 1792 Exchange, explained in an op-ed on Wednesday that Wall Street asset managers are using state pension funds to advance “racial equity audits,” green energy schemes, and other leftist goals.
The 1792 Exchange aims to put a spotlight on companies based on their likeliness that they would impose “woke” positions on clients. In the Washington Examiner, Fitzpatrick explained how Wall Street asset managers manipulate pension funds for publicly listed companies to advance leftist policies.
Fitzpatrick noted that the 1792 Exchange maintains a database that tracks the 2022 proxy records of the asset managers who vote on behalf of all 50 states’ pension funds and how BlackRock, State Street, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Franklin Templeton, PIMCO, JPMorgan, Northern Trust, Principal, UBS, Blackstone, and many others treat state pension funds to push “controversial resolutions at major corporations that would implement policies enforcing arbitrary environmental, social, and governance [ESG] goals, racial ‘equity,’ abortion travel benefits, and more.”
ESG has become the latest vector through which Wall Street asset managers such as BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street, and others push companies to adopt leftist policies they otherwise would not back. Asset managers often push companies to adopt anti-climate change policies, diversity requirements, and other policies advocating for racial justice. These asset managers use their investors’ proxy votes to push resolutions using their outsized influence in publicly listed companies to back leftist resolutions.
Breitbart News has reported on the many instances in which BlackRock has pushed publicly listed companies to advance racial justice and combat alleged climate change.
The 1792 Exchange president said this is not a one-off incident; he said they have found hundreds of instances that these asset managers have pushed “third party ‘racial equity audits'” at companies such as Amazon, Apple, Chevron, Home Depot, Wells Fargo using state pension funds.
He wrote, “One resolution for shareholders of Walmart would have forced the company to ‘report evaluating any risks and costs to the company associated with new laws and legislation severely restricting reproductive rights.’ Another required Comcast to align its retirement plan options with climate goals.”
Fitzpatrick also emphasized that red states such as Texas are not immune. The Texas retirement system voted for a shareholder resolution at Costco that asked the company to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris climate treaty.
However, he explained that many states have advanced legislation that would fight back against the manipulation of state pension funds to advance leftist causes:
Texas led with the first bill in 2021, prohibiting the state from contracting with companies that boycott the state’s most vital industries, such as oil and gas. It severed ties with asset managers, including BlackRock. In 2022, four states passed some type of anti-ESG legislation. This year, 15 states enacted ESG-related bills, with most on fiduciary duty in pensions or economic boycotts. Some were robust, some weak.
Kentucky passed HB236, a strong model requiring that fiduciaries of state retirement systems consider the sole interest of the beneficiaries of the pension plan using only pecuniary factors and prohibiting consideration of nonfinancial interests such as ESG and other ideological interests. This was smart for the pensioners and the state’s entire economy. The S&P 500 Energy (Sector) has outperformed the S&P 500’s ESG Index by a whopping 30% over the past three years, and Kentucky is a coal producer.
He noted that other states such as Arkansas, Kansas, Montana, Florida, and West Virginia have passed legislation to regain control over their investments and proxy votes.
Fitzpatrick concluded, “State legislators must pass strong bills. And if asset managers in Greenwich want to perform ‘racial equity audits,’ then they can volunteer to perform one for their country club, but they must stop using middle-class retirement funds to vote for ESG goals.
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