Florida CFO Prohibits More State Pension Funds from Investing in ESG Funds

FILE - This Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019 file photo shows Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy P
AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis on Monday blocked asset managers from investing $5.1 billion of state pension pool from being invested in financial products associated with Environmental, Societal and Governance (ESG) standards in the latest push against the policy movement.

Patronis signed a directive that bars the Florida Deferred Compensation plan, which offers supplemental pension coverage for more than 93,000 state employees, from investing in financial products with ESG standards. He noted they could be labeled “ESG Funds” in addition to using others alternatives terms such as “sustainability,” “equity,” and “social responsibility.”

“Florida has taken a hard stand that ESG is undemocratic, it constrains companies’ ability to pursue the best returns possible, and many of its values run counter to the values of everyday Floridians,” Patronis said in a statement. “We’ve been boiled like a frog for too long, and it’s time to hop out of the pot.”

“ESG has gone unchecked throughout the financial services sector for too many years, fiduciaries who believe ESG is bad for returns need to take steps in redirecting dollars away from these funds and into ones that are more focused on the bottom line,” Patronis continued.

As Breitbart News has noted in the past, ESG policies are a form of leftist activism in financial investing that has become the latest vector to influence the way Wall Street financial firms and corporations continue to take social and political positions that do not relate to their business, such as stances associated with climate change, as well as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) agenda. Wall Street firms, such as BlackRock and others, sell ESG as a way to invest according to specific criteria that the political left pushes on voters and consumers.

Florida has been one of the Republican-dominated state governments that have taken a strong aim at “woke” asset managers and the leftist ESG policy movement in the financial sector. Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, along with other state officials, changed the policies on Florida’s more than $220 billion in pension funds to ensure that “all investment decisions focus solely on maximizing the highest rate of return.”

Additionally, last month, Patronis announced that Florida would start to pull $2 billion in assets away from BlackRock due to the state’s opposition to the company’s major push into ESG policies. It was the most significant anti-ESG divestment to date, as Republican states have started to take a stand against this type of leftist activism in financial investing.

Patronis, at the time, explained in a press release that the state’s treasury would “immediately have Florida’s custody bank freeze approximately $1.43 billion worth of long-term securities and remove them as the manager of approximately $600 million worth of short-term overnight investments.”

Jacob Bliss is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at jbliss@breitbart.com or follow him on Twitter @JacobMBliss.


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