Press Release: SBI Moves to Increase Racial Equity in the Investment World
For Immediate Release
August 26, 2020
Donald McFarland | 651-236-0494
Saint Paul, MN - Today, the Minnesota State Board of Investment (SBI), comprised of the Minnesota State Auditor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Governor, strengthened their commitment to investing for the greater good, with a specific discussion of increasing racial equity in the investment profession.
The first promise SBI board members make to Minnesotans is to protect public employee pensions with effective investments. There is ample research showing that diversity amongst decision-makers, both inside the investing industry and amongst corporate boards and leaders, leads to better performance. Due to the size of the SBI’s investments, its voice is listened to within the investment community and by the companies in our portfolio. Through actions like proxy votes at these companies’ board meetings and coordinating with other institutional investors, we can influence corporate decisions, as well as diversity within the firms we hire to facilitate our investments. Leveraging our investment power to advance environmental, social, and good governance goals in this way, is not just a matter of principle; it is grounded in sound fiduciary actions.
“Minnesotans expect their leaders to use whatever power they have to improve our environment and bring about social justice,” said Auditor Blaha.
At today’s SBI meeting, the Board’s investment advisory council brought forward plans to increase the racial diversity and inclusion actions of our funds’ investment management firms. Auditor Blaha supports these initiatives saying, “Not only is racial equity essential for a just society, it is good for our bottom line. We all need to work to end racism in every part of society, and the investment world is no exception. In addition, mounting research shows that diverse workforces and racially equitable corporate practices increase a company’s performance, which in turn strengthens our fund.”
At Auditor Blaha’s request, the SBI now publishes a quarterly report outlining its environmental, social, and governance actions. Auditor Blaha said of her initiative, “I asked for an easy to understand report that would help Minnesotans assess our work toward those goals. I appreciate that SBI staff made that request a reality.” Those reports and other ESG information may be found here.
The Office of the State Auditor is the constitutional office that oversees nearly $40 billion in local government finances for Minnesota taxpayers. The Office of the State Auditor helps to ensure financial integrity and accountability in local government financial activities. Julie Blaha is Minnesota’s 19th State Auditor. Follow us on Twitter @MNStateAuditor.