Don't believe everything you read when it comes to fundsters fighting climate change ... and check the URL when you're reading fundsters' missives! (And check the date when someone on the street hands you a physical copy of the Washington Post
| Laurence D. Fink|
Yesterday morning at 6:15am (according to Institutional Investor
), before the BlackRock
] team released
their Q4 2018 earnings report, news outlets (including the Financial Times
and Financial News
) received a letter, more than 1,200 words long and labeled as "Larry Fink's Annual Letter to CEOs" and titled "Purpose In Action." The FT
reported on the letter, which declared that BlackRock's active PMs will start phasing out their investments in "non-Paris compliant companies" (referring to the Paris Agreement on fighting climate change). The letter seemed to be a followup to Fink's 2018 annual letter
(titled "A Sense of Purpose"), in which the BlackRock chairman and CEO called on his fellow CEOs to pay attention to ESG questions and demonstrate leadership.
Yet yesterday's letter was not from Fink: it's a hoax, as noted by Barron's
, Business Insider
, the FT
, and the Telegraph
. "Don't be fooled by imitations...Larry's real CEO letter coming soon," BlackRock tweeted
yesterday morning. Spokespeople from the company told reporters that the firm is investigating who release the fake letter. Someone from shareholder activist group Follow This
told Business Insider
that the group was "absolutely not" behind the fake Fink letter.
The fake letter was sent out from the "firstname.lastname@example.org" email address and posted
. That domain is brand new (created on January 8) and is registered through www.Internet.BS
, a Bahamas-based service that offers "Whois privacy", masking the true owners of the website. And the BlackRock-ESG.com website mimics the part of BlackRock's real site that displays Fink's prior annual letters (and even links back to the real BlackRock site, BlackRock.com
. CNBC calls
the whole hoax "a master class in spoofing and social engineering."
Fink's real 2019 letter was sent out to CEOs late yesterday, the New York Times reports
(though the letter is not yet posted on BlackRock's website). From the report, it seems that the new letter continues with Fink's theme from a year, pushing corporate leaders to pursue purpose, not just profits.
Neil Anderson, Managing Editor
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