Investment behemoth BlackRock is in the news because its Paris offices are again under siege by French protestors who implicate the giant asset manager in President Macron‘s push to raise the retirement age.
As far back as 2020, mainstream media like the New York Times covered the rising enmity for BlackRock among “protestors who claim BlackRock has tried to influence — and stands to profit from — Mr. Macron’s overhaul of the nation’s pension system.”
Demonstrators descended on the building that houses BlackRock’s office in Paris Thursday, taking their protest against the government’s pension reforms to the world’s biggest money manager https://t.co/pVpauBc4la— CNN International (@cnni) April 6, 2023
The Times also said there was no evidence for such a claim, and BlackRock itself denied the claims strenuously, saying: “We reiterate that BlackRock has never been involved in the current pension reform project and does not intend to be.”
The company labeled claims of its involvement “an unfounded controversy driven by political objectives.”
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is no stranger to being targeted by populist movements, having stood at the increasingly controversial forefront of investors pushing companies to adopt ESG measures, with a special emphasis on sustainability.
Under Fink’s leadership, BlackRock, one of the world’s largest and most powerful money-management funds, has continually emphasized that its interest in corporate ESG compliance is primarily fiduciary, stemming from an acute focus on profitability both long-term and short-term.
But many in the financial and political worlds have seen it differently, accusing Fink of moralizing.
Christopher Kaminker of the BlackRock Investment Institute explains why we see the U.S. policy push for leadership in clean tech and Europe’s fast-developing response creating near-term and strategic investment opportunities. #MarketTake https://t.co/EyT8b6ld5i pic.twitter.com/Iodn9NRgPO— BlackRock (@BlackRock) April 5, 2023
Fink has acknowledged that the changes he sees on the horizon — changes he wants companies that BlackRock invests in to lead — don’t sit well with everyone. A full transition to clean energy will have dramatic impacts, especially at legacy fossil fuel companies, for example.
Back in 2015, recognizing the hard road forward, Fink told the Harvard Business Review: “I’m not talking about this to win a popularity contest.”
Fink said recently that it will take $50 trillion in investments to make the global transition to clean energy or “net zero” as it is called. It’s a staggering number, even from the CEO of a company with $10 trillion under management.