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Florida Formalizes Policies to Ensure Investments Focus on Profit, Not ESG Politics

Craig Bannister | January 20, 2023 | 4:47pm EST
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
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Florida has taken yet another step to ensure that the state’s investments, and employee pension plans, are based on maximizing profit, rather than advancing an environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda.

“Every day Floridians invest their hard-earned money with the desire to maximize profit and have a secure financial future. Unfortunately, woke corporate elites continue to institute ESG practices in an effort to promote a radical agenda at a cost to everyday consumers,” Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Tuesday, in a statement announcing formal approval of investment policies “ensuring that all investment decisions focus solely on maximizing the highest rate of return”:

“Governor Ron DeSantis and Trustees of the State Board of Administration (SBA) formally approved measures to protect Florida’s investments from woke environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), ensuring that all investment decisions focus solely on maximizing the highest rate of return.

“Today’s updates to the Florida Retirement System Pension Plan policy and SBA corporate governance proxy voting guidelines build on actions taken last year to clearly define the factors fiduciaries are to consider in investment decisions, ensuring that ESG is prohibited from consideration.”

The statement notes that Gov. DeSantis has proposed legislation during the upcoming legislative session to codify the measures and rein in the use of discriminatory ESG practices throughout the financial sector.

DeSantis’ legislation contains four main goals:

  1. Prohibiting big banks, credit card companies, and money transmitters from discriminating against consumers for their religious, political, or social beliefs,
  2. Barring financial institutions from considering so called “ESG Credit Scores” in banking and lending practices to prevent Floridians from obtaining financial services like loans, lines of credit, and bank accounts,
  3. Permanently prohibiting State Board of Administration (SBA) fund managers from considering ESG factors when investing the state’s money, and
  4. Requiring SBA fund managers to only consider maximizing the return on investment on behalf of Florida’s retirees.
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