Jimmy Patronis, the chief financial officer for Florida, told Newsmax on Thursday night companies such as BlackRock and Vanguard were given a huge wake-up call after states like his divested billions of dollars because those large fund managers focus on investing in companies committed to environmental, social, and governance policies.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and fellow Republicans nationwide view ESG investing strategies as a way to infuse liberal policies into free-market decisions that should be based solely on the best return.
Last week, Patronis announced Florida was divesting $2 billion from BlackRock because of its focus on ESG investing, mirroring moves done by states such as Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia.
“What we’re seeing now is even the Vanguards and those big fund managers over the world are starting to walk it back,” Patronis told “Eric Bolling The Balance.” “They realized that they can’t promise on the returns that this this pie-in-the-sky doctrine that they’re trying to push is in place.
“We just made it loud and clear. You know, the governor and I, we’ve pulled away billions of dollars from the likes of BlackRock. We’ve got their attention. We’re not going to allow them to use our dollars to push forward their ideological doctrines that absolutely mean nothing to the bottom line but negative numbers.”
Patronis said using ESG as an investment strategy will not bring the type of return the taxpayers of Florida deserve.
“At the end of the day, if you want to invest in those types of philosophies, environmental, social governance issues, go right ahead,” Patronis said. “You can do it with your own money, but you can’t use it with the taxpayer of Florida’s money.
“When I am the trustee over the state’s checking account and when I am the trustee over the state’s retirement account, I’ve got to get the best return on the investment because I am a fiduciary over those. If I’m not getting the best return on my investment, I then am not doing my job.”
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