Wall Street Journal Letter: Poor Larry Fink

The Wall Street Journal today published this letter from NLPC Chairman Peter Flaherty:

Pity the situation of BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, who finds himself being mau-maued by green activists at his annual stockholder meeting for not doing enough to disinvest from fossil-fuel companies.

One way he can expiate his sins is to disinvest in the 153 China-owned or controlled companies as our organization recently called on him to do. Besides covering up the pandemic spread in Wuhan, Communist China is a major human-rights abuser, “re-educating” Muslim Uighurs in prison camps, conducting digital surveillance of its citizens and cracking down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Apparently, neither Mr. Fink’s idea of moral and socially responsible investing nor that of his so-called “progressive” critics takes into account these human-rights issues. The sixth circle of Dante’s hell punishes hypocrisy.

Read More ➡

Investment in Chinese Companies Explodes as an Issue; BlackRock on the Spot

Donald Trump/PHOTO: Gage Skidmore via Creative Commons

President Trump said this morning in a Fox Business interview with Maria Bartiromo that he is “looking at” the question of Chinese companies listed on American exchanges. His comment came a day after National Legal and Policy Center asked the CEO of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, to divest its customers’ holdings in 137 Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges.

Earlier this week, agencies of the United States government took a similar step. The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which manages retirement savings for government employees and military, announced that it would freeze its plan to invest in Chinese stocks this year. The decision came at the urging of officials in the Trump administration and from members of Congress, who do not want to see the communist nation rewarded with American investments following its mishandling and cover-up of the release … Read More ➡

Labor Department Seeks to Prevent Managers From Playing Politics With Pension Funds

By law, managers of employer-sponsored pension plans must act in the best interests of investors. Unfortunately, many such fiduciaries are applying an unusually broad definition. That’s why the U.S. Department of Labor has clarified the issue. On April 23, the DOL released a guidance statement intended to discourage benefit managers from applying the principle known as Environmental, Social and Governance to investment decisions. Such a practice might seem worthy, noted the department, but it may place safety and soundness in harm’s way. The action is especially a rebuke to those who see issues advocacy as a top business priority.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), alternately known as Corporate Social Responsibility, is a philosophy holding that a corporation is not only a business enterprise, but also a steward of the public good. A company, in this view, can and should be at once profitable and morally conscious. A company must … Read More ➡

Corporations Paying for Employee Protest: Does the Tail Wag the Dog?

There’s nothing unusual about a corporation offering employees paid leave for vacations, illness or personal emergencies. That’s a fact of the modern workplace. But lately employers have begun to provide paid leave for something far less justifiable: social justice activism. Employees themselves, backed by social media mobs, increasingly are demanding that management take stands on gun control, global warming, immigration and other major issues and that they should be compensated for taking part in protests. And these shakedowns in the future might cost noncomplying executives their jobs. It’s another example of why business should not be a vehicle for political advocacy.

The Left always has been resourceful in building cadres. And the workplace has become a new political frontier. Not that many companies aren’t already on board with this. At Luxe, a San Francisco-based valet parking smart phone app, founder and CEO Curtis Lee, angered over President Trump’s … Read More ➡

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink Calls Upon Business to Save the World

With about $6 trillion of assets under management, BlackRock Inc. carries a lot of weight in the business world. And Laurence Fink, CEO and chairman of the New York-based investment firm, wants everyone to know that. In a letter dated January 12, Fink urged dozens of CEOs of publicly-traded companies to expand their horizons beyond the confines of profit. “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” he wrote. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.” Though such words sound reasonable, they epitomize a common error about the institutional role of the corporation.

For decades, corporations, prodded by government, nonprofit activists and their own shareholders, have been retooling themselves as social problem solvers. Under the doctrine of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), companies are behaving as policy-oriented philanthropies. … Read More ➡