Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti slapped BlackRock, the world’s largest asset management firm, with a first-of-its-kind lawsuit on Monday, alleging the company misled customers about the financial consequences caused by its embrace of woke ESG — environmental, social, and governance — policies.
The complaint accuses BlackRock of making false or misleading claims to customers in Tennessee about how prioritizing ESG policies would impact their investments and seeks “injunctive relief, civil penalties, [disgorgement, restitution for consumers,] and recoupment of the State’s costs.”
Per Tennessee’s lawsuit:
BlackRock marketed many of its funds as devoid of ESG considerations and has admitted that ESG aims – in particular, radically reducing portfolio companies’ carbon output – ‘do not provide an indication of current or future performance nor do they represent the potential risk and reward profile of a fund.’ Regardless, BlackRock committed to global organizations that it would pursue these aims across all assets under management. And it did. For years, however, BlackRock has misled consumers about the scope and effects of its widespread ESG activity. BlackRock’s conduct concerning the marketing or sale of its investment products and services constitutes deceptive acts and practices under the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act…
In a statement provided to Townhall, Attorney General Skrmetti said “BlackRock’s inconsistent statements about its investment strategies deprived consumers of the ability to make an informed choice. Some public statements show a company that focuses exclusively on return on investment, others show a company that gives special consideration to environmental factors,” Skrmetti emphasized.
“Ultimately, I want to make certain that corporations, no matter their size, treat Tennessee consumers fairly and honestly.”
Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research, praised Skrmetti for “protecting consumers and calling out deception from asset management firms turned tyrants like BlackRock and its CEO Larry Fink who are attempting to foist a political agenda on the people of Tennessee and all Americans.”
“Larry Fink has been forgoing his fiduciary duty by taking consumers’ money and using it for Leftist causes such as ESG and arbitrary net-zero goals for far too long,” Hild reminded.
“This lawsuit is taking the fight directly to Larry Fink and BlackRock to let them know these policies will not be tolerated.”