By Charlie McCarthy. Media: Newsmax.
Florida chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis on Friday defended to Newsmax his state’s move of withdrawing $2 billion dollars from BlackRock over the investment firm’s wokeness.
CFO Jimmy Patronis on Thursday announced that his department would pull its assets managed by BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset management firm, that makes financial decisions based on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) policies.
“BlackRock wants to play in the space of ‘the more ESG friendly you are, the more access to capital you’re going to have,’ ” Patronis said on “Wake Up America.”
“At the end of the day, I care about the bottom line. I care about the taxpayers of the state of Florida. And I don’t care about where you’re going to do whatever you want to do with your own money, but you’re not going to do with the taxpayers’ of Florida’s money.
“You think [that by] giving somebody $2 billion dollars you’d have a first-rate working relationship with them. I have no idea who Minister Fink [CEO Jimmy Fink] is but I read his manifesto and what he is pushing out and it’s just not in the best interests of the taxpayers of the state of Florida. It’s not the business partner that we need moving forward.”
Patronis said his primary concern was looking out for Florida taxpayers and state employees’ retirement funds.
“Florida is the single biggest state in the United States to make this type of decision,” Patronis told co-hosts Tom Basile and Lidia Curanaj. “BlackRock’s a massive operation. … Look, I was in the restaurant business for 30 years of my life. If I start serving what the customers are not going to eat, the customers will go somewhere else. It’s as simple as that.
“We are seeing where BlackRock’s agenda is changing, and they’ve made it clear – they’re focused on ESG in addition to whatever they want to say they’re focused on the bottom line. I need somebody who’s got their head in the game. I need somebody who is a committed financial fiduciary partner with the state of Florida who cares about return on investment.
“I don’t need somebody to blend it out. … If you want to go and influence those types of agendas, go do it with your money, just don’t do it with our state of Florida’s money.”
Patronis encouraged other states and investors to follow Florida’s move.
“My daddy used to say, ‘If you want to get somebody’s attention, get into their pocketbook,'” Patronis said. “This is exactly what we’re doing. This is exactly what your viewers should be doing.
“If you don’t engage how your money is being spent, it’s going to be spent in ways that are indifferent to what your wishes are. So, you’ve got to have a seat at the table, and this is exactly what Florida’s doing. We are making sure that we are asserting ourself that the investor returns are the top priority of who we do business with.”
The CFO said he expected other “state treasurers around the nation” to copy Florida’s pullout from BlackRock.
“There’s been efforts from Texas, from Louisiana, from West Virginia but you’ll start to see more and more states step up,” he told Newsmax.
“We’re in a recession now. It’s going to get worse. I have got to maximize the return on our investment because I’ve got to fund things like schools, health care, infrastructure, and I don’t need somebody prioritizing the social agenda.”