BlackRock CEO Boasts Of Canceling Russia In Letter To Shareholders

Corporate America seems to have quite the vendetta against Russia. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink put out a letter Thursday in which he addressed shareholders regarding his company’s opinion and response to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The CEO of the world’s largest asset manager took an emphatic stance in favor of Ukraine against Russia, claiming he finds it “particularly painful to witness” due to the “indiscriminate killing of civilians.”

Fink went on to boast that in consultation with what he calls the company’s ‘stakeholders’ BlackRock has “joined the global effort to isolate Russia from financial markets.”

War is always a humanitarian tragedy, but the indiscriminate killing of civilians has been particularly painful to witness. I am proud of BlackRock’s support for refugees fleeing their homes. In consultation with our stakeholders, BlackRock has also joined the global effort to isolate Russia from financial markets. In the past few weeks, BlackRock mobilized a philanthropic response to help those in need and support our colleagues in Europe, closest to the war. While we do not have offices or operations in Russia or Ukraine, I know that this has created a great deal of stress and uncertainty for all of our employees, particularly those in Europe, and we have worked to provide them with the resources they need.

The BlackRock CEO stated that “the world benefited from a global peace dividend and the expansion of globalization” as Russia emerged from the Cold War and engaged in international trade during the 1990s, and said he remains “a long-term believer in the benefits of globalization and the power of global capital markets.”

“But the Russian invasion of Ukraine has put an end to the globalization we have experienced over the last three decades,” he added.

Fink continued, explaining in detail how both he and others in the private sector worked to punish Russia in a sort of political statement by doing everything they can to prevent any capital from flowing into the nation:

Capital markets, financial institutions and companies have gone even further beyond government-imposed sanctions. As I wrote in my letter to CEOs earlier this year, access to capital markets is a privilege, not a right. And following Russia’s invasion, we saw how the private sector quickly terminated longstanding business and investment relationships.

BlackRock has been committed to doing our part. Grounded in our fiduciary duty, we moved quickly to suspend the purchase of any Russian securities in our active or index portfolios. Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to countless stakeholders, including our clients and employees, who are all looking to understand what could be done to prevent capital from being deployed to Russia.

The speed and magnitude of company actions to amplify sanctions has been incredible. Iconic American consumer brands have suspended their operations of non-essential products. And financial services companies have taken similar steps to further isolate the Russian economy from the global financial system.

BlackRock’s website additionally posted a podcast snippet of Fink postulating his views of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in which he both lamented the invasion and eerily stated that “access to the global capital markets is a privilege” and “not a right.”

“These actions taken by the private sector demonstrate the power of the capital markets,” Fink bragged in his shareholder letter. “Russia has been essentially cut off from global capital markets, demonstrating the commitment of major companies to operate consistent with core values. This ‘economic war’ shows what we can achieve when companies, supported by their stakeholders, come together in the face of violence and aggression.”

The firm remains heavily invested in China, with its 2018 annual report highlighting the nation as one of its largest growth opportunities. BlackRock has faced scrutiny for such dealings; many have criticized Fink as a “China lackey” for his seemingly hypocritical tendencies to complain of human rights violations by only certain actors while refusing to offer criticism of the Chinese Communist Party — who have been accused of launching a genocide against its predominantly Muslim Uyghur population.

Larry Fink’s entire letter to shareholders can be found by clicking here.

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