Texas Threatens Financial Firms That Boycott Fossil Fuels

Texas is preparing to shut the investment door to financial services companies that shun the oil and gas industry and may ban them from doing business in the Lone Star state, Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s office said in a statement.

The statement comes with the release of a list compiled by the Comptroller of banks and other financial services providers that boycott oil and gas companies.

According to the FAQ section of the documentation, Texas state agencies state “are prohibited from investing in and must divest from companies listed in accordance with the statutory requirements. However, certain exceptions may apply.”

The list includes the following financial services companies: BlackRock, UBS Group, BNP Paribas SA, Credit Suisse Group, Danske Bank, Jupiter Fund Management PLC, Nordea Bank ABP, Schroders PLC, Svenska Handelsbanken, Swedbank, and UBS Group.

“The environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) movement has produced an opaque and perverse system in which some financial companies no longer make decisions in the best interest of their shareholders or their clients, but instead use their financial clout to push a social and political agenda shrouded in secrecy,” Hegar said.

“Our review focused on the boycott of energy companies, rather than a review of the entire ESG movement. This research uncovered a systemic lack of transparency that should concern every American regardless of political persuasion, especially the use of doublespeak by some financial institutions as they engage in anti-oil and gas rhetoric publicly yet present a much different story behind closed doors,” the Texas Comptroller also said.

Hager went after banks and investment firms in March when he asked a few dozen of them directly if they were boycotting the oil and gas industry.

“A company that fails to provide clarification 60 days after receiving this letter will be presumed to be boycotting energy companies,” he said at the time.

Most of the firms wasted no time in responding to the letter, with more than 20 of them doing so before the deadline given them by the Comptroller, Bloomberg reported in May, citing their responses.

One small asset manager based in Dallas actually responded with “Hell no,” the report said. The other companies targeted by the Texas authorities included BlackRock, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, and HSBC.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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