The oldest consumer advocacy group in the US sent a letter to 10 governors bashing BlackRock for investing state pension money into Chinese markets

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BlackRock boss Larry Fink CNBC/Getty Images
  • An advocacy group is calling on US governors to examine what it sees as risks from BlackRock’s investment in Chinese companies. 
  • Consumers’ Research sent a letter to 10 governors of states with the most pension money invested with BlackRock. 
  • BlackRock in a statement said it takes ‘seriously’ stakeholders’ differing views on China. 

A consumer advocacy group this week blasted BlackRock on behalf of US investors for “taking their money and betting on China,” and called on some state governors to examine risks associated with the world’s largest money manager investing in the Asian superpower. 

Consumers’ Research sent a letter to 10 governors who it said oversee the states with the most public pension funds invested with BlackRock, which manages roughly $US10 ($AU14) trillion in assets. The group said BlackRock’s “funneling of billions of US capital” in China is putting American security at risk and that it’s concerned about BlackRock CEO’s Larry Fink ties to China’s Communist leadership. 

“BlackRock’s unabashed gusto for Chinese markets flies in the face of concerns about China’s ascendant standing in the world, its authoritarian model of government, and its ambitions to supplant the U.S. as the pre-eminent world power,” Consumers’ Research wrote to governors including New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

BlackRock on Friday in a statement to Insider said it takes “seriously” its stakeholders differing views on China. 

“China and the US have a large and interconnected economic relationship. We recognize that our stakeholders have differing views on China – BlackRock takes those concerns seriously,” BlackRock said in a statement. “We seek to balance the concerns of our stakeholders with our role as a global investor and fiduciary working for our clients as we navigate this very complicated relationship between the US and China.” 

Consumers’ Research said the US-China Economic Security Review Commission convened by Congress recently recommended that the US take more steps to curtail its economic ties to China.

“Still, BlackRock has maintained a bullish approach” to investing in Chinese firms, “supporting their economy, and helping fuel the rise of their military, which barely a month ago tested a hypersonic missile,” said Consumers’ Research, which was established in 1929. The group said investment in Chinese companies could make US investors “unwitting accomplices” in the expansion of the CCP’s surveillance and intelligence gathering apparatus or make them party to human rights abuses. 

BlackRock in its response said its approach to Chinese-related investments is consistent with US foreign policy.

“BlackRock is an asset management firm.  The assets we manage are not our own, they belong to our clients. Our obligation as an asset manager and a fiduciary is to manage those assets consistent with our clients’ objectives and choices,” it said. The company said it provides clients with “clear and current disclosure” of all material risks associated with investment products and markets to ensure they make informed investment decisions. 

The asset manager also said it’s committed to continually pushing for improved standards, governance, and accounting transparency from all companies and countries wherever they are operating in the world. “Our approach to China will be no different,” it said. 

“As China’s financial services industry matures, a more robust regulatory and legal framework will be essential to building even more trust and confidence of global investors, and Chinese savers,” said BlackRock. 

The letter by Consumers’ Research was also sent to the governors of Washington, Nevada, Nebraska, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Montana, and West Virginia.