Texas School Fund Divests From BlackRock

The Texas Permanent School Fund (PSF) announced that it is ending an $8.5 billion investment with BlackRock due to the firm’s commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies.

Aaron Kinsey, chairman of the State Board of Education, said in a statement that PSF has a “fiduciary duty to protect Texas schools by safeguarding and growing the approximately $1 billion in annual oil and gas royalties managed by the Texas General Land Office.”

Kinsey explained that PSF’s “relationship with BlackRock was not in compliance” with a bill that “prohibits state investment in companies like BlackRock that boycott energy companies.”

“BlackRock’s dominant and persistent leadership in the ESG movement immeasurably damages our state’s oil & gas economy and the very companies that generate revenues for our PSF,” he continued. “Texas and the PSF have worked hard to grow this fund to build Texas’ schools. BlackRock’s destructive approach toward the energy companies that this state and our world depend on is incompatible with our fiduciary duty to Texans.”

Kinsey noted that PSF terminating its investment with BlackRock is a “major step forward.”

“The PSF will not stand idle as our financial future is attacked by Wall Street. This bold action helps ensure our PSF remains in fact permanent and will continue to support bright futures and opportunities for generations of Texas students,” Kinsey concluded.

BlackRock responded to PSF, saying that it helps “millions of Texans invest and save for retirement.”

“On behalf of our clients we’ve invested more than $300 billion in Texas-based companies, infrastructure and municipalities, including $125 billion invested in the energy sector, including a $550 million joint venture with Occidental. We recently hosted an energy summit in Houston designed to explore how to strengthen Texas’ power grid.”

Last year, after receiving negative feedback from its ESG push, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink reconsidered his use of the term “ESG,” which he said has been politically manipulated to an extent that leaves him feeling “ashamed.”

“I’m not going to use the word ESG because it’s been misused by the far left and the far right,” he remarked.

He suggested merely replacing the term with phrases related to specific issues like “decarbonization,” “governance,” and “social issues.”

There are all of the same focuses of ESG.