U.S. Judge Denies States’ Bid to Block Biden Rule on E.S.G.

By Benjamin Mullin Source: The New York Times A Biden administration rule that allows employee retirement plans to consider environmental, social and governance issues in investment decisions survived a legal challenge by 26 states on Thursday. Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk of U.S. District Court in Amarillo, Texas, said in a 14-page opinion that he would not block the rule, part of the so-called E.S.G. investment trend that places emphasis on companies’ records on labor issues, social justice and environmental [...]

2023-09-25T12:33:34-07:00September 21st, 2023|Categories: ESG|Tags: |

Pension Plans Need the Freedom to Consider Environmental, Social and Governance Risks and Responsible Workforce Management Principles

Source: AFL-CIO Workers’ retirement security is at risk as some Republican lawmakers play politics with working people’s pension plans. By restricting consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in investment and proxy voting decisions, these partisan politicians seek control of trillions of dollars in workers’ pension investments. Pension plans represent the deferred wages of working people and must be invested with prudence and loyalty to provide retirement benefits. The proper stewardship of retirement savings requires the freedom to [...]

2023-08-01T13:40:40-07:00July 18th, 2023|Categories: ESG|Tags: |

U.K. industry group proposes ESG ratings, data providers’ code of conduct

By Hazel Bradford Source: Pensions & Investments A draft code of conduct for providers of ESG ratings and data was released Wednesday by a U.K. industry working group seeking feedback. Appointed by the Financial Conduct Authority in November to help with ESG oversight, the ESG Data and Ratings Working Group run by the International Capital Market Association and the International Regulatory Strategy Group released the proposed voluntary Code of Conduct for ESG Ratings and Data Product Providers for public [...]

2023-07-06T11:06:09-07:00July 5th, 2023|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

Retirement expert calls on court to toss DOL ESG rule lawsuit

By Brian Croce Source: Pensions & Investments The Department of Labor's new rule permitting retirement plan fiduciaries to consider climate change and other ESG factors when selecting investments and exercising shareholder rights is based on sound legal footing and a lawsuit seeking to overturn it should be dismissed, retirement expert J. Mark Iwry said in a court filing. The new rule — Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights — took effect Jan. 30 and [...]

2023-04-10T16:25:53-07:00April 10th, 2023|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

Suddenly, Republicans Want to Rein in the Financial Sector. Wanna Guess Why?

Source: ValueEdge Advisors Biden didn’t reverse the Trump rule and rehabilitate ESG investing because Greta Thunberg asked him to. He did it because Wall Street banks asked him to. They asked because ESG is well established at this point and the financial sector can’t afford to avoid it. And while it is I suppose conceivable that the financial community has gotten so “woke” that it no longer cares about money, that strikes me as pretty unlikely. Read the full [...]

2023-03-06T14:24:12-08:00March 6th, 2023|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

DOL’s priorities include SECURE 2.0, ESG rule, EBSA head says

By Courtney Degen Source: Pensions & Investments The Labor Department's 2023 priorities include implementing SECURE 2.0 and its new ESG rule, while aiming to improve communication with plan participants and beneficiaries, Lisa M. Gomez, assistant secretary of labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, said Tuesday. The department finalized a rule in November that allows retirement plan fiduciaries to consider climate change and other environmental, social and governance factors when selecting investments and exercising shareholder rights, also overturning two [...]

2023-03-01T17:02:53-08:00March 1st, 2023|Categories: ESG|Tags: , , , |

Don’t let ESG become ‘the next 3-letter bad word’ – CalPERS CEO

By Arleen Jacobius Source: Pensions & Investments ESG is about managing risks and spotting investment opportunities, and should not be allowed to become "the next three-letter bad word," CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost said at the pension fund's stakeholder forum on Wednesday. "When you break down ESG … it's around managing risks related to climate, managing risks related to poor human capital practices. It is about managing risks related to poor governance," Ms. Frost said. Read the full article

2023-01-19T15:58:01-08:00January 19th, 2023|Categories: ESG|Tags: , , |

The Mid-Term Results and What They Mean for ESG and SECURE 2.0

By Paul Mulholland Source: PlanSponsor This year’s midterm elections resulted in Democrats keeping their narrow lead in the Senate but losing control of the House to Republicans. Republicans are expected to have a nine-seat majority in the House, and Democrats will either have a one-seat majority or the tiebreaking vote in an evenly split Senate, pending the result of the Georgia runoff election on December 6. With the House changing hands, some key committee gavels will switch from Democrat [...]

2022-12-08T08:10:47-08:00December 8th, 2022|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

Final ESG Reg Published in the Federal Register

Source: National Association of Plan Advisors We now have an official effective date for the new ESG regulation. While the Department of Labor unveiled its final rule on the consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, the regulation has now been officially published in the Federal Register, establishing the timeline for it to be effective. Consequently, the rule—Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights—will now be effective Jan. [...]

2022-12-08T08:08:12-08:00December 8th, 2022|Categories: ESG|Tags: |

Trump Loses His Clutch on Your 401(k) in Department of Labor Ruling

By Eric Reed Source: Yahoo! Finance The new rule is written broadly, which means that it may let employers explore several different categories of investing. But it specifically aims to create more opportunities for ESG, or "Environmental, Social and Governance," investing. Otherwise known as impact investing, these are portfolios that invest around specific social and political goals. For example, a portfolio may explicitly choose not to invest in fossil fuels and dirty industries, or it may proactively invest in [...]

2022-11-30T16:24:08-08:00November 30th, 2022|Categories: 401(k), ESG|Tags: , |

CalPERS CEO pushes back against politicization of ESG investing

By Arleen Jacobius Source: Pensions & Investments CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost decried the politicization of environmental, governance and social investing at Wednesday's board meeting and highlighted the benefits of the $443.2 billion pension plan's ESG approach. "In some cases, the (midterm election) campaign rhetoric not only dismissed the danger of climate change, it went so far as to mischaracterize a strategy we believe in strongly: examining the risk factors of the environment, of social inequality, and of good governance," [...]

2022-11-17T14:33:59-08:00November 17th, 2022|Categories: ESG|Tags: , , , |

Statewide races spotlight pension investments and debate about ESG

By Courtney Degen Source: Pensions & Investments In several statewide races in the midterm elections, the outcome could have a significant impact on state pension plans. Environmental, social and governance investing has become a key issue for many races, as Republican officials across the country have recently labeled the movement as "woke" and too political. Democrats, on the other hand, are encouraging investment policies that consider climate change, gender equality and corporate governance. Read the full article

2022-11-02T15:46:49-07:00November 2nd, 2022|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

Public Funds Are Among Strongest Backers of ESG Resolutions

Source: AI-CIO.com Public pension funds strongly support environmental, social and governance shareholder resolutions, Morningstar data show. According to a Morningstar research report released this month, public pension funds’ average rate of support for ESG resolutions was 90% in 2021, compared with 85% of ESG-focused funds and 63% of general shareholders. “Basically, public pension funds’ voting behavior looks very similar to mutual funds and [exchange-traded funds] that focus on ESG issues,” says Janet Yang Rohr, director for multi-asset and alternatives [...]

2022-09-06T16:46:04-07:00September 6th, 2022|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

Protecting Pensions and ESG Risks

By Tim Hennessey Source: IFEBP As the global impact of climate change grows, environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors have become a core consideration for pension funds. ESG issues and concerns can no longer be relegated to debates among pension fiduciaries about values investing or investment returns and instead require a holistic approach, author Janis Sarra noted in her article “Protecting Pensions Through Effective Governance of Climate and ESG Risks” in the July/August issue of Plans & Trusts. Sarra, [...]

2022-08-04T16:25:39-07:00August 4th, 2022|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

U.K. pushes pension trustees to focus on the ‘S’ in ESG, with help

By Hazel Bradford Source: Pensions & Investments The U.K. government wants to make sure that pension fund trustees are giving enough attention to social factors that could have financial implications, and is setting up a task force to help. "The 'S' of ESG is one area in which the risk management of pension schemes can be strengthened," said Pensions Minister Guy Opperman, the longest serving parliamentary undersecretary of state for pensions and financial inclusion, in a statement on the [...]

2022-07-27T11:31:00-07:00July 27th, 2022|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

SEC proposes additional ESG disclosures for investment advisers, funds

By Brian Croce Source: Pensions & Investments The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday approved a rule proposal that would require investment advisers and fund managers to disclose additional information on ESG strategies in fund prospectuses, annual reports and adviser brochures. In a 3-1 vote, with the commission's lone Republican, Hester M. Peirce, dissenting, the SEC proposed amendments to rules and disclosure forms that aim to promote consistent, comparable and reliable information for investors concerning funds' and advisers' incorporation [...]

2022-05-25T12:50:39-07:00May 25th, 2022|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

Institutions widely support DOL’s proposed ESG rule

By Brian Croce Source: Pensions & Investments A majority of institutions support a proposed rule from the Department of Labor that would explicitly permit retirement plan fiduciaries to consider climate change and other environmental, social and governance factors when selecting investments and exercising shareholder rights, according to a new report examining comment letters. The report, published Tuesday by the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets, US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment and Environmental Defense Fund, found [...]

2022-02-01T08:22:02-08:00February 1st, 2022|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

ESG becoming even greater focus for money managers, survey finds

By Rob Kozlowski Source: Pensions & Investments Global asset managers are expanding investment resources dedicated to ESG, and increasing numbers of firms are adding more ESG metrics to their investment processes, according to Russell Investments' seventh annual ESG survey. The latest survey of 369 asset managers representing $79.6 trillion in assets under management shows 82% of managers explicitly incorporate qualitative or quantitative ESG factor assessments into their investment processes, compared with 78% in last year's survey. The most growth [...]

2021-11-11T08:33:23-08:00November 11th, 2021|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

Vast majority of investors consider ESG important

By Hazel Bradford Source: Pensions & Investments Investors are increasingly factoring ESG into their investment decisions, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey released Thursday. The PwC 2021 Global Investor ESG Survey found that 80% of those surveyed considered ESG an important factor. Nearly 70% thought it should be factored into executive compensation, with 59% saying that a company's lack of action on ESG issues would make them likely to vote against pay packages, and one-third already taking that action. For [...]

2021-10-29T16:54:40-07:00October 29th, 2021|Categories: ESG|Tags: |

Expert panel: Climate change putting spotlight on ESG issues for pension plans

By Susan G. Seller Source: Benefits Canada The images of floods, forest fires and heat waves over the past few years is putting climate change front of mind for many, including pension plan sponsors and administrators. It’s become increasingly clear that environmental, social and governance factors are emerging as an important area of concern for pension plan administrators and, by extension, the boards and pension committees that exercise oversight over the investment of the assets of employer-sponsored pension plans. [...]

2021-10-19T15:10:13-07:00October 19th, 2021|Categories: ESG|Tags: , , |

ESG factors becoming a focus for real estate investors

By Arleen Jacobius Source: Pensions & Investments While ESG factors play an important role in real estate managers' investment decisions, asset owners also are asking managers to look inward at their own firms' diversity and inclusion efforts. Gender and ethnic diversity is becoming a big issue for real estate managers, driven by some of the largest asset owners that do not think management firms are diverse enough and are calling on them for change, said Josh Herrenkohl, New York-based [...]

2021-10-07T09:18:15-07:00October 7th, 2021|Categories: ESG|Tags: |

House passes ESG disclosure bill

By Hazel Bradford Source: Pensions & Investments Legislation requiring public companies to disclose ESG metrics was narrowly approved by the House Wednesday. The proposed Corporate Governance Improvement and Investor Protection Act received no Republican support, leaving its prospects uncertain as it advances to the Senate for consideration. The White House supports the measure, saying in a policy statement that the legislation would make "important changes to the manner in which publicly traded companies account for and disclose certain activities [...]

2021-06-18T13:58:44-07:00June 18th, 2021|Categories: ESG|Tags: |

Pandemic pushes firms to up allocations to social investments – research

By Sophie Baker Source: Pensions & Investments The social factor within ESG will be of increasing importance to global pension funds over the next three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with passive allocations set to rise. Research by DWS and CREATE-Research found that 66% of pension funds intend to increase allocations to the 'S' pillar through passive allocations over the coming years. Two-thirds (67%) said they will choose their passive managers based on a track record of achieving [...]

2021-05-27T16:38:06-07:00May 27th, 2021|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

Bill seeks to clarify ESG responsibilities under ERISA

By Brian Croce Source: Pensions & Investments Democrats in the Senate and House introduced a bill Thursday that would amend ERISA to make clear that retirement plans may consider ESG factors in their investment decisions and that ESG investments are permitted as qualified default investment alternatives in ERISA-covered plans. Under the bill — the Financial Factors in Selecting Retirement Plan Investment Act, sponsored by Sens. Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash. — plans [...]

2021-05-21T09:39:14-07:00May 21st, 2021|Categories: ESG|Tags: |

ESG influencing company strategy, increasing oil market vulnerability

Environmental, social and governance factors are continuing to influence company strategy, financing and operating environments in 2021, according to a new report by Fitch Ratings Inc. It found financial institutions will likely continue to enhance ESG due diligence and exclusionary policies to cover a broader set of ESG issues and entities, as the quality and quantity of ESG data is improved by increasing reporting requirements and harmonization of standards. In addition, a growing interest in sustainability is sparking debate [...]

2021-01-25T12:33:46-08:00January 25th, 2021|Categories: ESG|Tags: |

Biden team to review Labor Department ESG rule

The Biden administration will review a recent Department of Labor rule stipulating that ERISA plan fiduciaries cannot invest in "non-pecuniary" vehicles that sacrifice investment returns or take on additional risk. In his first few hours in office Wednesday, President Joe Biden signed a flurry of executive orders, including one titled "Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis." In the order, Mr. Biden directed all executive departments and agencies "to immediately review and, [...]

2021-01-21T13:53:40-08:00January 21st, 2021|Categories: ESG|Tags: , , |

Two Pro-ESG Investing Bills Introduced in House

Several high-profile Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced bills aimed at promoting the acceptance and use of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments by individuals and institutions. The lawmakers are Representatives Andy Levin, D-Michigan, vice chair of the House Education and Labor Committee and member of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions (HELP); Brendan Boyle, D-Pennsylvania, member of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, member of the House Financial Services [...]

2020-12-19T08:40:38-08:00December 19th, 2020|Categories: ESG|Tags: , , , |

Taking Stock: Will The New DOL Rule Curb ESG Momentum?

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) softened its stance from an earlier proposal on ERISA plans incorporating investments using environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. In a final ruling published days before the U.S. presidential election, the DOL emphasized the importance of using only pecuniary factors—financial considerations that have a material effect on risk and/or return—in analyzing investments, but the final ruling fell short of singling out ESG investments. In fact, the term “ESG” is noticeably absent from the [...]

2020-12-02T11:28:09-08:00December 2nd, 2020|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

DOL, Dubious About ESG Pension Investing, Cuts It a Bit of Slack in Final Rule

The Department of Labor (DOL) on Friday eased its stance a small amount against environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, but it remained determined in its declaration in a final rule that Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan fiduciaries must make investment decisions that won’t sacrifice returns. In June, the DOL proposed a rule that determined employer-sponsored plans have a sole fiduciary duty to beneficiaries, not to social causes advanced through ESG investing. The proposal proved to be [...]

2020-11-05T15:48:37-08:00November 5th, 2020|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

DOL walks back ESG language in final rule

The Department of Labor unveiled a final rule Friday stipulating that ERISA plan fiduciaries cannot invest in “non-pecuniary” vehicles that sacrifice investment returns or take on additional risk, though the final rule focused less on ESG than the proposal on which it was based. The rule was proposed in June and drew harsh criticism from the retirement community, including claims that the Labor Department did not sufficiently justify its reasoning behind the proposal and concerns that the proposal would [...]

2020-10-30T14:09:10-07:00October 30th, 2020|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

Industry sounds off against DOL proposal on ESG

A Department of Labor proposal that would likely curb environmental, social and governance investments in ERISA plans has drawn sharp criticism from the retirement community. In a 30-day comment period that concluded July 30, stakeholders roundly admonished the Labor Department's proposal to add regulatory text that makes clear that ERISA requires plan fiduciaries in both private defined benefit and defined contribution plans to select investments "based on financial considerations relevant to the risk-adjusted economic value of a particular investment [...]

2020-08-11T09:39:33-07:00August 11th, 2020|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

COVID-19 pushes social issues to ESG forefront

One of the many upheavals caused by the COVID-19 crisis has been some reordering of environmental, social and governance priorities for institutional investors. While climate change and other environmental issues "were almost synonymous with ESG, the pandemic forced us to shift, and forced owners of capital to think about the other letters in ESG," said Nathan S. Shetty, Chicago-based head of multiasset portfolio management for Nuveen LLC, the money management arm of TIAA-CREF. The global health crisis plus renewed [...]

2020-08-11T09:37:28-07:00August 11th, 2020|Categories: ESG|Tags: , |

DOL proposal could hurt prospects for ESG in ERISA plans

A proposal from the Department of Labor stipulates that ERISA plan fiduciaries cannot invest in ESG vehicles that sacrifice investment returns or take on additional risk, which sources say could curb environmental, social and governance investments. "Private employer-sponsored retirement plans are not vehicles for furthering social goals or policy objectives that are not in the financial interest of the plan," Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said in a news release. "Rather, ERISA plans should be managed with unwavering focus on [...]

2020-06-26T14:53:25-07:00June 26th, 2020|Categories: ERISA, ESG|Tags: , , |
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