BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is catching some well-deserved heat for his latest annual letter to investors. Not only does he contradict himself and put his own policy preferences over his fiduciary duty, but he straight up lies to his shareholders with a straight face.
Fink is trying to disguise BlackRock’s left-wing agenda as objective stewardship, only supporting left-wing positions important to left-wing investors. When one of the most powerful CEOs on the planet is prioritizing his own preferences over his shareholders, things are bound to get turbulent.
Part of his subterfuge involves the “Motte and Bailey” technique.
Fink “provide[s] cover for BlackRock’s indefensibly hyper-political pressure tactics. For example, he made completely unobjectionable claims such as, ‘there are many people with opinions about how we should manage our clients’ money. But the money doesn’t belong to these people. It’s not ours either. It belongs to our clients, and our responsibility and our duty is to them.’ That’s the motte. But BlackRock’s modus operandi is precisely the opposite of that — weaponizing their clients’ money to force corporations to the hard-left. Fink’s seemingly neutral way of expressing that was claiming that ‘part of supporting our clients includes speaking out on issues important to their investments. I’ve long believed that it’s critical for CEOs to use their voice in the world.’ That’s the bailey.”Daily Caller
Fink reframed his message in this year’s letter, avoiding terms like ESG, stakeholder capitalism, and racial equity. But he’s still trying to shape corporate policy for everyone and defending BlackRock’s pressure tactics, while completely contradicting his own statements.
For example, Fink says that it’s not for companies, including asset managers like BlackRock, to be the environmental police. But then he turns around and views climate risk as an investment risk. If that’s not an inherent contradiction, I do not know what is.
Fink is also trying to pretend that he’s all about the retail investors. He’s praising recent bank bailouts and signaling to investors that hands-off government is the way to go when it comes to importing goods from China. But at the same time, he’s pushing for a system of government-sponsored corporatism (fascism), similar to the World Economic Forum’s vision of public-private partnerships.
Fink is also criticizing Bitcoin, while praising permissioned blockchains under his influence. And he’s taking some underhanded jabs at the right, claiming that the financial system is stronger now than it was in 2008. But he says that more government intervention is necessary to secure it, and he’s blaming conservatives for opposing bailouts.
Fink’s annual letter to investors praising the merits of ESG is raising some serious questions, and any investor that cares about his or her returns should take notice, and put their hard-earned money in more capable (and honest) hands.