Gov. Ron DeSantis Moves To Decouple Sunshine State Pension Funds And Chinese Communists


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and some of his administration’s top officials moved Monday to take control of the state’s huge pension portfolio from private asset managers that invest heavily in communist China.

At a meeting of the State Board of Administration, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Attorney General Ashley Moody joined Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, in a motion to “revoke all proxy voting authority that has been given to outside fund managers.”

The state officials said they need to ensure that fund managers “act solely in the financial interest of the state’s funds.”

The measure also orders a survey of the Florida Retirement System’s investments “to determine how many assets the state has in Chinese companies.”

The state took action after Consumers’ Research, a conservative watchdog group, launched a campaign accusing BlackRock, the world’s largest investment company by assets under management, of close and growing ties with Beijing.

The bond between BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and China’s communist leaders also has drawn criticism from left-wing billionaire George Soros.

In addition to investing clients’ money in Chinese companies, BlackRock was awarded a contract to sell mutual funds in China. The venture has raked in some $1 billion, according to published reports.

“I would like the SBA to survey the investments that are currently being done,” Mr. DeSantis said in a statement. “When the Legislature comes back, they can make statutory changes to say that the Communist Party of China is not a vehicle that we want to be entangled with. I think that that would be something that would be very, very prudent.”

Figures for BlackRock’s investments in China are difficult to pinpoint, but they represent a small portion of the more than $9.6 trillion in assets that the firm manages.

BlackRock’s China A Opportunities Fund, which has returned more than 32% since its 2018 inception, has more than $47.4 million, according to its most recent report.

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