Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy at a Fox News debate last month.
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is the cofounder of an “anti-woke” ETF firm.
The company was set up last year and now manages assets worth more than $1 billion.
Ramaswamy’s firm is a riposte to the ESG-centric policies of some big investment firms.
The anti-activism investment fund cofounded by Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy is now managing assets worth more than $1 billion.
Strive Asset Management was set up in 2022 as a riposte to big fund managers such as BlackRock that have increasingly pursued a strategy of environmental, social and governance-focused, or ESG, investing.
Its mantra of encouraging companies to “focus on excellence” over ESG concerns has struck a chord with some investors.
Ramaswamy’s GOP bid is also bringing more funds to Strive, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
The firm’s most popular fund is the Strive US Energy ETF, which tracks the same portfolio as BlackRock’s iShares US Energy ETF.
Strive aims to use its voting power to pressure the companies it invests in to “drill more and frack more,” Ramaswamy said last August, per Bloomberg.
“It is a rare feat for any indie issuer to hit $1 billion in the first year, let alone one that is largely a pushback to ESG as many of those ETFs have flopped,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Eric Balchunas.
The milestone comes as two former Strive employees sue the cofounders, accusing Ramaswamy and Anson Frericks of mistreating staff and pressuring staff to break securities law.
Strive said in a statement to Bloomberg last month it would “vigorously defend itself” against the claims.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours.
It’s not the first time Ramaswamy has taken aim at what he called the financial sector’s “woke” agenda. Last month he said the “big three” investment firms – BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard – represented “arguably the most powerful cartel in human history.”
“They’re the largest shareholders of nearly every major public company (even of each other),” he wrote.
“And they use *your* own money to foist ESG agendas onto corporate boards – voting for “racial equity audits” & “Scope 3 emissions caps” that don’t advance your best financial interests. This raises serious fiduciary, antitrust, and conflict-of-interest concerns.”
Ramaswamy is vying with Florida governor Ron DeSantis for second place in opinion polls, but both lag some distance behind former President Donald Trump in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.