Brett Arends’s ROI: Ron DeSantis ramps up attack on ‘woke capital’ with ESG crackdown

by | Jul 29, 2022 | Stock Market

Florida governorundefined Ron DeSantis says he is going to stop the state’s $240 billion pension fund from investing in stocks based on so-called ESG measures, meaning portfolios are built around environmental, social and governance issues. DeSantis’s announcement, made Wednesday at a press conference at Harpoon Harry’s Crab House in Tampa, should raise a cheer with GOP donors and primary voters in the 2024 presidential race.

There’s just one problem. The state pension fund, known as the State Board of Administration, already doesn’t invest based on ESG metric. No way, no how. “Neither the SBA nor its managers use ESG factors as a way to screen or limit the available investment opportunity set,” spokesman Kent Perez tells MarketWatch in a statement. “We do not invest to make social statements.” A formal statement on the SBA website goes further. It argues that divesting from companies for social and political purposes leads to “increasing costs, reducing diversification and ultimately, reducing returns.” “As a pension plan fiduciary, the SBA’s duty is to act in the sole interest of participants, strengthening their retirement security, not invest to make statements,” it says. The board’s statement adds that it doesn’t believe dumping stocks with bad ESG ratings does any good, anyway: T …

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