The chief executive of the world’s largest asset manager was rewarded with laudatory headlines this week for once again promising that his firm, BlackRock, will use its market power to aid the fight against climate change. But CEO Larry Fink’s company has a long history of helping vote down environmental initiatives — and kept doing so last year.
The company, which manages nearly $9 trillion worth of global assets, wields immense economic power by virtue of the fact that it controls so much global capital. BlackRock has built a revolving door with the U.S. government, hiring former government officials for top jobs at the company and preparing its own C-suite to take jobs in government, including at the Federal Reserve and in the new Biden administration.
Beyond that influence, though, BlackRock is one of the financial industry’s most powerful invisible hands guiding politics and the economy through its position as a giant asset manager determining the fate of shareholder resolutions and board of director elections. And for all of Fink’s talk about climate change, his company used that power last year to vote against the vast majority of shareholder resolutions dealing with climate action and political spending disclosures. In many of those cases, BlackRock’s support for the resolutions would have given them enough votes to pass.Greenwashing Wall Street’s Invisible Hand – The Daily Poster
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Larry Fink’s letter was good. BlackRock’s voting policies are not.