February 3, 2020
I just read a New York Times article from January 14, 2020 entitled "BlackRock C.E.O. Larry Fink: Climate Crisis Will Reshape Finance." Two excerpts really stick out. Namely:
"A longtime Democrat, Mr. Fink insisted in an interview that the decision was strictly business. 'We are fiduciaries,' he said. 'Politics isn't part of this.'"
"Black Rock's decision may give C.E.O.s license to change their own companies' strategy and focus on sustainability, even if doing so cuts into short-term profits."
For the founder and chief executive of the world's largest asset manager to make such conflicting comments in the same article worries me. If he and his firm are fiduciaries, then their focus should always be on the fiduciary responsibility on protecting our assets. They should always be working on ways to grow our assets, not knowingly and purposely cutting into our profits.
But the aforementioned quotes were not even the most alarming quote from the article.
"'We will be increasingly disposed to vote against management and board directors when companies are not making sufficient progress on sustainability-related disclosures and the business practices and plans underlying them,' he wrote."
Why is this most alarming to me? Because with this quote, Mr. Fink is making it clear that he will use his influence and power to try to control the board of companies for which he personally thinks isn't doing its part to meet his political standards, even if said companies are performing well for investors.
In short, the SEC must do what it can to protect folks like me, investors, from becoming victims in the gamesmanship of asset managers and their proxy firms promoting their political beliefs rather than their fiduciary responsibility of protecting and growing assets.