EnergyStatewide NewsTaxes & SpendingAt Least 19 Financial Companies May Be Boycotting Fossil Fuel Says Texas Comptroller

The first round of letters was sent out to companies that the comptroller identified to have oil and gas divestment policies.
March 16, 2022
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The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, the state’s chief fiscal officer, sent letters to 19 financial companies the agency has identified that may harbor oil and gas divestment policies.

Under Senate Bill (SB) 13 passed in 2021, the comptroller is required to remove state funds invested in companies with fossil fuel divestment policies.

The 19 companies are:

  • Abrdn PLC
  • BlackRock
  • BNP Paribas
  • Credit Suisse Group AG
  • Danske Bank A/S
  • HSBC Holdings PLC
  • Invesco Ltd.
  • JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Jupiter Fund Management PLC
  • Man Group PLC
  • NatWest Group PLC
  • Nordea Bank Abp
  • Rathbones Group PLC
  • Schroders PLC
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holdings, Inc.
  • Svenska Handelsbanken AB
  • Swedbank AB
  • UBS Group AG
  • Wells Fargo & Company

“A handful of companies are echoing promises by the Biden administration about a ‘transition’ to green energy,” Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a statement.

“They’ve managed to convince people that electric cars and wind and solar power generation can meet our energy needs, and if we just stop investing in oil and gas, the transition will be swift and painless.”

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These 19 companies are asked in the letters to issue a response clarifying their policies on fossil fuel investment and to provide a list of portfolio funds that “prohibit or limit investment in fossil fuels.”

If no response is received 60 days after the letter’s receipt, the company will be considered a fossil fuel boycotter.

More than 100 other publicly traded investment companies will receive another round of letters shortly that have “one or more funds boycotting fossil fuels” as opposed to specific policies like these 19 allegedly have.

“Our research thus far shows that some companies are telling us and other energy-producing states one thing, and then turning around and telling their liberal clients in other states another thing,” Hegar added.

One such firm accused of this is BlackRock, one of the world’s largest investment institutions. Back in January, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick criticized BlackRock and asked Hegar to add the company to the “top of the list” of fossil fuel-boycotting companies. At the time, The Texan obtained documents that showed the Teacher Retirement System, the state’s largest pension fund, had about $7.5 billion tied to BlackRock stock or funds.

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has said the company is not divesting from oil and gas companies but also says the company focuses on sustainability “because we are capitalists and fiduciaries to our clients” — meaning, in their judgment, green energy companies are where the smart investments lie.

Patrick responded to Fink’s hedging, chiding, “These statements indicate that BlackRock is capriciously discriminating against the oil and gas industry by exiting investments solely because companies do not subscribe to a ‘net zero’ policy beyond what is required by law.”

The comptroller also announced this month that state money will be removed from Russian-tied companies in light of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

It is unclear so far how much money the state has tied to either these suspected SB 13-violating corporations or to Russian businesses.

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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.