Gov. Ron DeSantis and the trustees of the State Board of Administration, CFO Jimmy Patronis and Attorney General Ashley Moody passed a resolution last week updating the state’s investment and proxy voting policies for its retirement system and pension plan.
The resolution prohibits state fund managers from investing in funds that comply with the ideological agenda of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).
The resolution also calls for an internal review of the state’s governance policies over the voting practices of the Florida Retirement System Defined Benefit Pension Plan.
The vote comes after DeSantis announced in July a new plan to protect Floridians from banks and corporations pushing the ESG movement, including new legislation for the 2023 legislative session.
One piece of legislation would amend Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices statute to prohibit discriminatory practices by large financial institutions based on ESG social credit score metrics.
While the Biden administration “has made clear its intention to encourage investment using ESG factors,” the resolution states, Florida “takes its fiduciary responsibilities seriously when investing state trust fund monies, particularly retirement fund money for our law enforcement, teachers, and public servants.” As a result of this commitment, the resolution states, Florida will only be allowed to “invest in funds in a manner that prioritizes the highest return on investment for beneficiaries, without consideration for nonpecuniary beliefs or political factors.”
The resolution defines pecuniary factors to exclude the consideration of the furtherance of social, political or ideological interests. It also directs the board to “not subordinate the interests of the participants and beneficiary to other objectives and may not sacrifice investment return or take on additional investment risk to promote any non-pecuniary factors” when making investments or proxy votes.
The resolution also instructs the SBA to “conduct a comprehensive review and prepare a report of the governance policies over […]
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