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Vanguard Quits NZAM After Political Intervention

US asset manager Vanguard is withdrawing from the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative (NZAM), following political pressure related to its acquisition of shares in US utilities. Vanguard, the world’s second largest asset manager, said the decision would not affect its commitment to helping clients navigate the risks posed by climate change, but said it wanted to provide “clarity” to investors. Last month, Republican attorneys-general opposed the index fund manager’s application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to extend its authorisation to acquire shares in US utilities, including for externally advised funds, arguing that membership of NZAM would impact the “cost and reliability” of energy supplies. NZAM, a member of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, requires its 291 members to make a set of commitments in support of net zero 2050 goals. The intervention is the latest in a series of challenges by Republican-run states to the climate policies of US financial institutions, including the recent withdrawal of US$2 billion from BlackRock by Florida’s chief financial officer.

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