Attorney General Knudsen investigating BlackRock’s ESG policies, conflicts of interest

Attorney General Knudsen investigating BlackRock’s ESG policies, conflicts of interest

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen and 15 other state attorneys general launched an investigation into BlackRock for potential conflicts of interest and the company’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investments.

In a letter sent to BlackRock fund directors Tuesday, Attorney General Knudsen raised concerns about misleading statements made by BlackRock regarding its ESG policies, the independence of BlackRock-linked mutual fund directors, and the company’s participation in programs that push the political goals of environmental activist groups. The attorneys general sent their first letter to the fund directors in July and received an inadequate response back that left substantial questions unanswered.

“I have serious concerns about BlackRock’s Environmental, Social, and Governance investments, their conflicting statements regarding ESG, and the potential conflicts of interest with independent fund directors.  I am determined to get answers and ensure the firm is following the law and doing right by their investors,” Attorney General Knudsen said. “Mutual fund directors have a fiduciary obligation to their clients to make them as much money as possible, but BlackRock appears to be more concerned about pushing the woke, liberal agenda.”

In February, BlackRock announced it would be withdrawing from Climate Action 100+, an investor group pushing ESG investments. However, the firm remains a member of other ESG groups such as the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, and Ceres, which raise serious concerns over BlackRock’s duty to act exclusively for the financial benefit of its shareholders and may have cost mutual funds returns.

“While the firm took a step in the right direction by dropping out of Climate Action 100+ earlier this month, it’s not enough,” Attorney General Knudsen said.

Attorney General Knudsen is requesting written responses to the questions listed in the letter by March 26.

Attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia also signed the letter.

Click here to read the letter.


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