BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s gun problem

Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO, has forced his own hand.
Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO, has forced his own hand.
Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
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On January 16, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink sent an open letter to business leaders, calling for awareness of the “societal impact” of their companies. Social purpose, he warned, is what the world’s largest asset manager cares about now.

Then came the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, by a teenager armed with an AR 15-style rifle.

As it turns out, the newly woke BlackRock is the largest institutional shareholder of three of America’s largest publicly traded gunmakers.

As a custodian, BlackRock can’t sell assets it doesn’t own. But it perhaps could answer Fink’s own call for social good through shareholder activism. A BlackRock spokesperson has said the firm wants to reach out to the gun makers “to understand their response” to the shootings.