Florida CFO Bans More State Pension Funds From Investing in ESG

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(Bloomberg) — Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis blocked asset managers from investing a $5.1 billion state pension pool in sustainable funds, the latest escalation in his fight against ESG.

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Patronis signed a directive on Monday that bars the Florida Deferred Compensation plan, which offers supplemental pension coverage for more than 93,000 state employees, from investing in environmental, social and governance strategies, according to a statement. Less than 1% of the assets are invested in “potential ESG Products,” he said.

“We’ve placed the burden on these fund managers to move these dollars – and if they don’t – then they’re in violation of our contracts,” Patronis said. “ESG has gone unchecked throughout the financial services sector for too many years.”

Florida is among a string of Republican-dominated state governments that are lashing out against asset managers’ “woke capitalism,” targeting policies that take ESG into account. Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis and state officials changed the policies on Florida’s more than $220 billion in pension funds to say that investment decisions should be guided only by potential returns.

–With assistance from Michael Smith and Silla Brush.

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