BlackRock says ‘several thousand’ people got a fake letter pretending to be from CEO

BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, said Wednesday that an unidentified party sent a bogus email disguised as annual letter from Chairman and CEO Larry Fink to “several thousand” employees and some journalists.

“The hoax letter contains false and misleading statements about BlackRock’s plans to screen out of all investments companies that do not comply with the Paris Climate Agreement, forcing investors to actively opt-into coal, oil, and gas stocks,” BlackRock spokesman Brian Beades said in a press release. “This was in fact a hoax designed to confuse journalists and the public by claiming that BlackRock advocates an environmentalist agenda.”

The Financial Times and one other media group fell for the ruse, which is believed to be the work of environmental activists. The FT reported on the contents of the hoax document, which was sent around the same time as BlackRock’s quarterly earnings report on Wednesday morning.

Though not Fink’s handiwork, the policy changes detailed in the fake letter “although admirable in intent, are at odds with near-term profitability,” BlackRock’s Beades added. “While similar initiatives have been considered by BlackRock, they remain exploratory, pending further risk analysis and greater investor and public demand.

“BlackRock seriously evaluates risks that climate change poses to economic stability, and engages with companies we invest in to prioritize long-term sustainability,” he wrote.