BlackRock, UBS Ask to Be Removed From Texas' Energy Boycott List

BlackRock headquarters in New York.

A UBS spokesperson told Bloomberg in October that the firm met with the comptroller’s office and reiterated the importance of the energy industry and Texas. UBS said last month that it provided more information showing, “it is both our policy and practice to do business with energy companies, including those in the fossil fuel industry.”

UBS Group’s arm that underwrites U.S. municipal bond sales hasn’t handled any offerings in Texas’ lucrative market for state and local-government debt since Hegar announced his findings, and was removed from a $3.4 billion transaction slated to price next year.

“We are actively working with the authorities in Texas to reinforce the importance of the energy industry and Texas to our business,” Erica Chase, a UBS spokesperson, said in a statement. “UBS does not boycott the energy industry.”

BlackRock didn’t respond to requests for comment on the correspondence with Hegar’s office.

Update Schedule

The comptroller’s office is required to update the divestment list annually, but may do so as often as quarterly. Last week, a spokesperson for Hegar said any update would come next quarter at the earliest.

Other companies with funds on the list, including Bank of New York Mellon, have also sought clarification. The bank’s investment-management division has 19 funds listed.

Bank of New York Mellon said in an August letter to Hegar’s office that, “we believe the inclusion of these funds was made in error and is inconsistent with the information we provided in response to the verification request.”

In a statement last week, the bank said it doesn’t have a policy of boycotting energy companies, and that it engaged with Texas officials to clarify its funds’ investment processes.

 

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