Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has accused large fund managers like BlackRock for fueling short sellers, a group of investors he has been criticizing on his Twitter account.
Musk, in several Twitter posts on Thursday night, alleged that BlackRock and other financial firms pocket “excessive profit” from lending shares they hold to short sellers because “they’re suffering a net loss.”
A short seller is an investor who bets on the decline of a security like a stock. They make money by selling the shares they borrow and hope that the price falls so they can buy them back at a lower price and make profits.
Musk also said those funds were “pretending to charge low rates” for their passive “index tracking” products.
Must tweeted: “The big funds can & will, as they’re suffering a net loss. Index managers like Blackrock pocket make excessive profit from short lending while pretending to charge low rates for ‘passive’ index tracking.”
CNBC reached out to BlackRock for comment about Musk’s allegations, but didn’t immediately hear back from the company.
Securities lending is a lucrative business, according to an opinion piece by Financial Times in April. The newspaper, which cited a regulatory filing, said BlackRock made $597 million in revenue last year from lending securities.
Musk lashed out at that practice, saying “there is no rational basis” for long-term shareholders to engage in that business. He claimed that doing so “dilutes the shareholder base” while giving short sellers “a strong incentive to attack the company by whatever means possible.”
The billionaire CEO also said many small investors in passive index funds don’t know that their holdings are being lent to short sellers.
Musk has been an outspoken critic of short sellers, previously calling them “jerks who want us to die” and accusing them for spreading “negative propaganda” against Telsa. On Thursday, he also mocked the Securities and Exchange Commission by calling it the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission” and said what short sellers do “should be illegal.”