Oklahoma pension system strikes back at anti-ESG treasurer over BlackRock, SSGA funds

By MARGARIDA CORREIA -pionline.com

Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System fired back at Oklahoma Treasurer Todd Russ in a letter rebuffing Russ’ accusations that the $10.3 billion pension fund violated the law when it voted to keep BlackRock and State Street as asset managers.

The two firms, which manage roughly 60% of Oklahoma City-based OPERS’ assets, are among six firms that Oklahoma’s public pensions are prohibited from doing business with because they’re on a blacklist for allegedly boycotting the oil and gas industry.

In the l6-page letter sent to Russ and other members of the Oklahoma State Pension Commission on Nov. 15, the OPERs board argued that its decision in August to exercise a fiduciary exemption from having to terminate contracts with BlackRock and State Street was “legally consistent and in compliance with the Energy Discrimination Elimination Act,” a law implemented in 2022 to punish firms for factoring environmental, social and governance issues into their investment decision-making.

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