DeSantis bans state fund managers from weighing ESG concerns in investments

Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday that fund managers handling state assets may not account for environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations when weighing investments.

The governor indicated that rather than considering ESG concerns, state fund managers need to solely consider financial return. The new policy will directly affect those managers addressing the Florida Retirement System Plan and other state assets.

“We need asset managers to be laser focused on returns and nothing more. Florida’s not going to subsidize the actions of a bunch of Leftist ideologues who hate America; we’re not going to let a bunch of rich people in Manhattan or Europe try to circumvent our democracy,” said state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis in a press release announcing the policy.

ESG investments remain a sticking point among conservatives, with many raising concerns about the potential impact on the fossil fuel industry and speculating that the propagation of ESG is a means of spreading left-wing ideology in the corporate sector.

DeSantis, in announcing the policy, echoed such concerns, saying “[c]orporations across America continue to inject an ideological agenda through our economy rather than through the ballot box… Today’s actions reinforce that ESG considerations will not be tolerated here in Florida, and I look forward to extending these protections during this legislative session.”

The Florida Republican has been a vocal proponent of separating both the state and national economies from left-wing entities and foreign influence, openly mulling a ban on Chinese land purchases in the state and denouncing the World Economic Forum.

“Their vision is they run everything and everybody else is just a peasant. …That type of stuff coming out of Davos, those policies are dead on arrival in the state of Florida,” he said last week.