Moments after the head of the $6 trillion asset manager took the stage, a protester from the female-led peace group Code Pink stormed the stage bearing a sign that read, “Fink! Divest from War. Stop the Killing.”
The group in the past has targeted Fink over BlackRock’s investment in big weapons manufacturers including Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
“We are trying to hold companies accountable to be global citizens, yet BlackRock invests in companies that manufacture and sell death and violence,” the protester said.
Another female protester chanted “Stop making a killing on killing!”
The melee lasted less than a minute before the protesters were escorted from the theater where the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit was being held.
“Well, we live in a democracy,” Yahoo Finance editor-in-chief Andy Serwer said as the excitement died down and he resumed his interview with Fink, where the two discussed problems facing the global economy.
Reps from BlackRock acknowledged the firm’s investments in gun stocks in a statement later Thursday.
“Virtually all of these shares are held in index funds. Index providers determine which companies to include in the indices they create,” the company said in a statement.
“As a fiduciary, BlackRock [then] offers clients funds, like ETFs, that are designed to track the investment results of [those] third party indices,” it added.
Last year, Fink got targeted by an art exhibit at the Whitney Museum called “Debtfair,” which blasted BlackRock for investing in artists’ debt.
On Thursday, when asked about how BlackRock manages risk and return on the $6 trillion the firm holds on behalf of individuals and institutions, Fink was quick to distance his personal wealth from the assets managed by the firm.
“It’s not my money” he said, seeming to deflect assumptions made by the protesters while also eliciting laughter from the crowd.
Source: New York Post