Blackrock investigates hoax letter to chief executives over climate change

Jessica Clark
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The New York Times 2013 DealBook Conference in New York
The letter claimed to be from Blackrock chief executive Larry Fink (Source: Getty)

Blackrock is investigating a hoax letter published this morning, claiming to be from chief executive Larry Fink, that warned companies that the world’s largest investment firm would divest unless they took action against climate change.

The letter, which was posted on a spoof Blackrock website as the company reported its financial results, said the investor would dump 90 per cent of companies that did not comply with the Paris agreement in the next five years.

Read more: A third of non-investors say they would consider ethical investment funds

Blackrock responded to the fake on Twitter by saying “don’t be fooled by imitations...Larry’s real CEO letter coming soon” after a number of media outlets were fooled by the prank.

The fake letter said: "It is time that companies evolve beyond short-term interests that we all know drive instability and risk.

"Companies must now be able to reconcile their strategy for long-term growth with their publicly articulated social purpose.

"If a strategy for growth cannot be synthesised with social purpose, no matter how profitable it may seem in the short term, we will no longer consider that a sustainable model."

The hoax comes two days after shareholder advocate activists wrote to Fink urging him to address climate change in his annual letter to chief executives.

This morning Blackrock reported that assets under management dropped five per cent in 2018 to $5.97 trillion from $6.3 trillion in 2017.

Read more: Bank of England: Insurers and banks must manage the financial risks of climate change

Full-year total net inflows were $124bn, more than 50 per cent lower than the previous year’s figure of $367bn, however, the company saw four per cent growth in full-year revenue.

City A.M. has contacted Blackrock for further comment.