“In November, President Biden adopted a rule that expressly authorizes ERISA retirement plan fiduciaries to consider environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations while picking assets and exercising shareholder rights.”
This Biden regulation replaces a previous rule which demanded fiduciary decisions be focused only on generating the highest returns for the 152 million American workers that depend upon ERISA for their pensions. Because ERISA includes most employer-sponsored retirement plans, we’re talking about $11.7 trillion in assets here.
Under Biden’s proposal, retirement fund managers can prioritize ESG concerns instead of financial returns in their investment selections for workers’ hard-earned money. Plan participants could unwittingly be enrolled in ESG funds, which may not accord with their political views. In the most recent survey, most Americans think it’s a poor idea for firms to use their financial influence to further a political or social goal, as is the case in ESG investment.
A lot of research has demonstrated that ESG investment policies have worse rates of return. For example, a study by UCLA and NYU found that over the past five years, ESG funds underperformed the broader market, earning a 6.3% return compared to an 8.9 percent return respectively.
Additionally, compared to other investment plans, ESG investors usually pay higher fees for lower performance.
This disapproval resolution will receive a vote on the Senate and House floors. Under House and Senate rules, the Senators and Representative Barr can demand a vote on this resolution to nullify the regulation. Additionally, the resolution requires a simple majority vote threshold to pass and be delivered to the President.
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