A Thanksgiving Day memo for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis


Until: Ron DeSantis

From: Bob Eccles

CC: All ESG haters

Topic: ESG at the University of Florida Investment Corporation


happy thanksgiving! You certainly have a lot to be thankful for, which I am so happy for.

You start off with a landslide victory in re-election for governor with nearly 60 percent of the vote, a 20-point lead over your Democratic opponent. Many congratulations! You clearly attracted a lot of independent voters, getting an eye-popping 58 percent of the Latino vote, up from 44 percent the first time around. Your strong performance in Florida is undoubtedly one of the reasons Washington locationThis for you Donald Trump (#2) [from whom I haven’t heard a single utterance of “ESG” or “Woke”—a sure sign his star is fading]) and Mike Pence (#3 – your most serious competitor in using ESG and Woke to get the nomination) in your poll of GOP candidates for president. The Post praised, “Stocks of the Florida governor are at an all-time high as he emerged as the GOP’s biggest winner on Election Day.”

And let’s not forget that flawlessly executed, iridescent but disciplined, artful piece of political theater in which you chartered two planes to ship 50 illegal Venezuelan immigrants to the summer resort of Martha’s Vineyard. In my home state of Massachusetts. Texel no less! I suspect Governor Greg Abbott is very jealous that you dove in and pulled him out from under his nose and beat him partisan. I’m sorry I wasn’t there to congratulate him on your behalf. I’ve been a little busy fighting on the other side in the ESG Culture Wars where you’re one of the leading generals on the right.

It is in this context that I want to bring something to your attention before we sit down for a nice Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Hope you have a nice 🦃 too.

On August 26, 2022, with the support of fellow State Board of Administration (SBA) trustees, you passed “a resolution directing the State of Florida fund managers to invest state funds in a manner that best invests them .” prioritizes the highest returns to Florida taxpayers and retirees without regard to the ideological agenda of the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) movement. The SBA has $199.6 billion in assets under management, according to its most recent report (July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021). It posted impressive $38.9 billion growth in AUM thanks to a net return of 29.46 percent. Well done!

You probably think it will perform even better by eliminating dangerous ESG content. Since you’re the governor, I think you can ignore that ESG is about material risk factors that are important to corporate profitability and shareholder returns. And there are many empirical studies that prove this to be true.

Facts aside, there is a serious political problem that requires your immediate attention. I’m sorry to bother you with this on Thanksgiving, but I think you’ll be glad I did. Especially since I have three helpful pieces of advice.

By a fortunate coincidence for you, I recently came across the Environmental, Social and Governance Policy Statement of the University of Florida Investment Corporation. The statement states that “as a fiduciary, UFCO has a duty to act in the best long-term interests of its investors in accordance with the Florida Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (FUPMIFA), which regulates management and investment behavior.” sets the standard. Institutional financing. UFCO’s primary goal is to maximize long-term risk-adjusted returns for its investors to further its mission, and in particular the core mission of the University of Florida. I’m sure this isn’t a problem because you made a similar point regarding the SBA, saying that investment decisions should be “based solely on economic factors”.

Make sure you hold on to what I have to tell you now. I don’t want fainting to hurt the GOP’s leading presidential candidate. UFCO’s overview goes on to state that “the purpose of this policy is to describe how UFCO integrates environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) into its investment process to achieve its primary purpose.” If you’re still with me, it’ll get worse. “As a long-term investor, UFCO believes that risk management is critical to the investment process and our due diligence includes the manager’s consideration of material ESG factors that could affect their performance and/or risk over the long term.” profile can be compromised. Note that it says “material ESG factor, “no”think ESG factor.

OK, there you have it. UFCO directly contradicts you (their governor 😱) on ESG for claiming that economic factors “have no regard for advancing social, political or ideological interests” and stipulates that the SBA “must not sacrifice investment returns or take additional investment risks to promote all non-economic factors when making an investment or proxy voting.”

Here’s the problem. While you and people like you are waging a massive, well-funded, and futile campaign to make ESG an ideological punching bag, the business and investment community is trying to manage physical risk factors. And you do your best to stop them from doing so. For more information on what ESG really is, if you can’t sleep after eating pumpkin pie, read “A Tutorial on ESG Investing in the Oil and Gas Industry for Mr. Pence and Friends.” I don’t want to show favoritism, I’m also happy to give you a tutorial. A personal too personal!

I cordially invite you, your other SBA managers, and just about anyone you can think of to join a free public webinar “ESG Isn’t ‘Awake,’ It’s Capitalism.” It is sponsored by law firm K&L Gates. The panelists are my GOP friend Dan Crowley and myself. Our moderator is the charisma page. Both are partners in the company. It will be held on November 29, 2022 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST.

OK, I admit that marketing our webinar was a bit rhetorically over the top. I know you wouldn’t let the most junior employee on your payroll spend an hour of their time listening to a webinar. God forbid they might learn something! You are playing a big game. Run for President! Here I think I can help you with some good advice.

You should demand that William Reeser, the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of UFICO, come to your office immediately for deep and serious self-criticism. Instruct him to review UFCO’s policy outline on ESG. Look her straight in the eye and tell her sternly, “Change the language like we did with the SBA – or else!”

else what? Well, it’s really your decision. I don’t know if you, as governor, have the authority to fire Mr. Reeser. If you do, you should if he doesn’t obey you in 24 hours. In this case, I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible that UFICO’s ESG policy has been finalized. And I can’t find any evidence of this when I search the internet. (I saved a pdf just for historical record.)

If you don’t have this right, apply public pressure. You have shown yourself to be very effective in using the Bully Pulpit. But what if Mr. Reeser does not bow to your royal will and does not show due obedience? What if, in order to maximize UFCO’s long-term returns, what if UFCO refuses to arm and pay tribute to your campaign to root out ESG and Woke in the Sunshine State?

I can help here too. Charter a plane and fly it to the Bay States. If you don’t mind, sir, I really prefer Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard, please send her there. I will meet Mr. Reeser and host him to a traditional New England clambake at the very delicious and signature White Elephant. my treat.

You can’t afford to fail here, Mr. Governor. You will appear weak to your fellow opposing ESG warriors. One of them is way behind you in the post ranking. Who got a three month jump on you by publishing the letter on May 26, 2022 in the GOP’s House Organ, Wall Street Journal. He clearly reaffirmed his anti-ESG creed, noting that “ESG is a harmful strategy because it enables the left to achieve what it never wanted to achieve at the ballot box or through competition in the free market”. ESG allows an unelected bloc of bureaucrats, regulators and activist investors to judge companies based on their adherence to leftist values.

admit it. This is a much more powerful mobilizing language for an anti-ESG campaign than your staunch technical language, such as “don’t sacrifice investment returns or take additional investment risk to promote non-economic factors.” One last piece of advice. Commission the State Financial Officers Foundation to make a short video for you, like the one they have for “Our Money Our Values ​​​​​​- What is ESG?” For the background, I am delighted with the enchanting Orwellian message and production quality. You’ll love it. Though you may not like the subliminal diversity, justice and inclusion theme it permeates.

Mr. Governor, in the interest of your presidential ambitions, I urge you to act quickly and end the defections of UFCO.

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