Republican Attorneys General Object to Proposed Changes to Retirement Funds Fiduciary Rules

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  • A group of 22 Republican AGs, led by Utah AG Sean Reyes, sent a comment letter to U.S. DOL opposing a proposed rule that removes barriers for retirement plan fiduciaries to consider environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) factors in their investment strategies.
  • The letter argues that the proposed rule, titled Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights, would erode traditional fiduciary duties of creating financial gains for beneficiaries by eliminating the “pecuniary factors only” standard of assessing investment decisions, and would instead encourage, or arguably require, fiduciaries to focus on social and political issues in investment decisions and would be protected from legal action when they do.
  • The letter notes that employees will bear the financial risk associated with social investing, arguing that there is evidence that ESG investment strategies produce lower yields than index funds and that the proposed rule allows relatively new and untested ESG investments to be made available as part of a retirement plan’s default investment options.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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