Industry Updates

BlackRock’s Fink should resign over ESG says former sustainability chief – reports

Tariq Fancy labelled former boss an “emperor with no clothes” who is “ducking the fight”

Theo Andrew

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BlackRock CEO Larry Fink should resign over his failure to engage with criticism of the asset manager’s ESG position, according to its former sustainable investment chief Tariq Fancy.

Fancy, who was chief investment officer for sustainable investing between January 2018 and September 2019, said his former boss is an “emperor with no clothes” who is “ducking the fight” on ESG in an interview with The Telegraph.

“Larry Fink should stop ducking the fight and enter the [ESG] debate to clarify what he’s saying. If he is not going to do that then he should resign,” he said.

“You cannot show the world that the emperor has no clothes if he locks himself in the bathroom and does not come out.”

The criticism comes just over a week after activist investor BlueBall Capital Partners also called on Fink to resign over the “hypocrisy” of his approach to ESG.

Furthermore, BlackRock continues to face criticism from the Republican states in the US, many of which have implemented Boycott Acts against firms excluding certain activities from their investment products on ESG grounds.

Fancy added: “BlackRock’s biggest mistake was getting involved in political issues. When they started talking about ESG, it was not objective, it was intended to sell to progressives.  

“They have now found themselves in a place where they are a political football and there is no way to satisfy either side.”

A spokesperson for BlackRock told The Telegraph: “Tariq Fancy has been gone from BlackRock longer than he spent at the firm but three years later continues to trade on BlackRock’s name.

“It is absurd that he would suggest a chief executive step down who has delivered a cumulative total return to shareholders over 23 years of 7,700% – the best performing financial firm in the S&P over that time – by consistently putting clients’ interests first.

“The money BlackRock manages does not belong to Tariq Fancy or anyone else with a political agenda – it belongs to our clients. We will continue to manage that money consistent with their long-term goals and objectives, not those of Tariq Fancy.”

Earlier this month, Vanguard withdrew from the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, stating it wants to improve clarity for investors.

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