Oklahoma has formally begun the process of essentially blacklisting some of the nation’s largest financial firms from doing business with the state, Treasurer Todd Russ said Wednesday.
Russ released a list of 13 firms he said do not meet the requirements of a 2022 law barring contracts with companies deemed hostile to oil and gas or that do not respond to a set of questions put to them by the treasurer’s office.
The treasurer’s press release did not say which of 13 financial firms, including BlackRock, Wells Fargo and Co., JPMorgan Chase and Co., Bank of America Corp., were found to be “boycotting” oil and gas and which had not responded to the request for information.
Jordan Harvey, Russ’ chief of staff, said all the firms have done business with the state recently but he did not know how much money was involved.
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“The energy sector is crucial to Oklahoma’s economy, providing jobs for our residents and helping drive economic growth,” Russ said. “It is essential for us to work with financial institutions that are focused on free-market principles and not beholden to social goals that override their fiduciary duties.”
Other companies on the list are: State Street Corp., Grosvenor Capital Management, Lexington Partners, FirstMark Fund Partners LLC, Touchstone VC Global Partners, WCM Investment Management, William Blair, Actis LLP and Climate First Bank.
JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are the nation’s two largest banks, with assets of $3.8 trillion and $3.1 trillion, respectively. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest with assets of $1.9 trillion.
JPMorgan Chase emailed a statement saying the decision to list the company is “baseless.”
“As the nation’s largest bank, we are among the top financers across the energy sector, including traditional energy sources. Between 2021 and 2022 we provided over $2 billion in financing and other services to 40 Oklahoma companies in the oil and gas space. Our business practices are not in conflict with this anti-free market decision, and we look forward to continuing to serve customers and communities in Oklahoma.”
According to a fact sheet provided by Bank of America, it has a $576 million commercial loan portfolio in the state and 254,000 “digital active clients.” BoA’s Oklahoma operations are based in Tulsa.
BlackRock is generally considered the nation’s largest investment firm, with more than $9 trillion in assets under management.
“On behalf of our clients, we invest over $15 billion in public energy companies based in Oklahoma and $320 billion in public energy companies globally. We invest billions more in renewable energy firms,” BlackRock said in a statement. “Boycott lists raise costs for Oklahoma taxpayers and reduce returns for firefighters, teachers, and state employees seeking to retire with dignity.”
Last year’s Oklahoma Energy Discrimination Elimination Act was a response to corporate “Environment, Social and Governance” policies which, among other things, pledge to make decisions with consideration for the impact of fossil fuels on the environment. Most large companies, including many oil and gas companies, have ESG policies on the books.
Companies placed on the list have 90 days to respond, after which the various state entities have 360 days to divest themselves of direct and indirect holdings — but with exceptions.
The law does not apply to indirect holdings in actively or passively managed investment funds or private equity funds, or if a sale would result in a financial loss for the state.
Editor’s note: This story was edited after publication to include a statement from a BlackRock spokesperson.