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Oklahoma bid to blacklist BlackRock bombs in a big way, and the oil state may set back anti-ESG investing efforts in 19 other states

The state's pension board disregarded the Republican-dominated government by extending BlackRock's contract to manage $7.3 billion of its retirement assets -- BlackRock still scaled back its ESG stance.

Author Oisin Breen June 3, 2024 at 7:09 PM
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Todd Russ' defense of the 'anti-ESG' law was slammed by the Oklahoma attorney general as a 'failure.'
Brooke Southall and Keith Girard contributed to the editing of this article.




June 4, 2024 — 3:57 PM
The objectives and actions on the topic of ESG of Oklahoma and other red states are incoherent and ineffective. The article similarly mixes two very different topics: 1) Boycotting "Anti-Oil" Companies - this idea, that states should "boycott" companies that are against some corporate or other interests of the state, is abjectly stupid and harmful by every measure. No merit, regardless of one's politics or belief about oil or ESG or anything else. The very idea that a state maintains a "bad companies" list based on some stupid criteria is nauseating. All of these laws will be found illegal, and violations of the fiduciary obligations. 2) Banning ESG investments for government institutions and state fiduciaries - this is reasonable and something states concerned with fiduciary obligations for state pensioners can and should legislate. In Oklahoma the proper legislative effort would have been to ban ESG use as a fiduciary violation, rather than banning firms. Blackrock and others can/do easily offer non-ESG investment products and likely the investments they manage for Oklahoma pensions today are ESG agnostic. Net/net - boycotts were and are stupid. States that believe (as I and many others do) that ESG investments produce no investor value and in fact are violations of fiduciary duties can simply outlaw the use of ESG investments by fiduciaries. No asset manager is forcing ESG on any investor.
Ken Gallaher

Ken Gallaher

June 5, 2024 — 2:51 PM
Anti- ESG is bad science and bad economics.

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