U.S. ESG Funds Suffer Disastrous Fourth Quarter In 2022

Sustainable investment funds and ETFs booked outflows of $6.2 billion in the last quarter of 2022, reducing the net inflows for the year to $3 billion, a report by Morningstar has found.

The final net result was made possible by massive inflows of some $10.2 billion made during the first quarter of the year, the Financial Times reported.

The report also found that all U.S. mutual funds and exchange-traded funds booked net outflows last year—for the first time since Morningstar began tracking fund capital movements, which was in 1993.

According to the authors of the report, the outflows from sustainable funds were prompted by market volatility, the escalation of talk about greenwashing, and some states’ strike back against ESG investing.

Kentucky and Texas were among these states. Both threatened to pull out investments from pension funds and other government agencies from asset managers that participate in the ESG movement, alleging they were effectively boycotting the oil and gas industry.

Earlier this year, Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball sent warnings to about a dozen banks and asset managers, among them JP Morgan, Citi, and BlackRock, saying the state would pull its funds out of these institutions if they continued boycotting the oil and gas industry.

Texas targeted the financial services industry last year with a pretty similar threat. In an August statement, the state’s Comptroller Glenn Hegar said that “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.”

The agency also issued a list of banks and financial service providers that Texas agencies were prohibited from investing in because of their boycotting of the oil and gas industry. The list featured names such as BlackRock, BNP Paribas, UBS, and Credit Suisse.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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