Industry Updates

BlackRock ditches guns and halves fees on ESG ETFs

David Tuckwell

a silver and red gun

BlackRock has made good on its promise to take the guns out of some of its ETFs.

BlackRock's US division will offer ETFs that exclude gun makers and sellers, making good on plans outlined in the aftermath of the Stoneman Douglas massacre.

According to an update on its website, BlackRock will roll out gun-free plain vanilla ETFs, such as S&P 500 or the Russell 1000 trackers. But they'll only be available to institutional investors and qualified pension plans, including 401(k) plans.

For retail investors BlackRock will remove gun sellers from its broad ESG funds, changing their underlying indexes to exclude companies like Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods, on grounds that they make money distributing weapons.

"While [our ESG] funds historically have included little exposure to firearms manufacturers, the new screen will expressly prohibit all manufacturers of civilian firearms," BlackRock said.

The company will also lower the fees on some of its headline ESG funds in an effort to "make them more accessible", the company said. Fees will be halved from 50 to 25 basis points.

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