ESG and Qualified Plans:  The Who, What, When, Where, Why (and, Most Importantly, How) ERISA Plan Fiduciaries Prudently Consider ESG-Related Investments

Bradford Campbell, Partner, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Kary Moore, Senior Corporate Counsel and Senior Vice President, Federated Hermes

July 15, 2021

While DOL has permitted environmental, social and governance (“ESG”)-like investments by ERISA plans since 1994, the recent “Financial Factors” regulation raised new questions and concerns for ERISA plan fiduciaries.  Perceived to be anti-ESG (though the final rule actually was NOT), too many fiduciaries have been left confused and uncertain about the prudence of ESG-related investments.  The Biden Administration is moving aggressively to encourage prudent ESG investing, suspending enforcement of the Financial Factors rule and announcing that it will replace the Rule with a new regulation to be proposed in September.  This session will examine how DOL has historically viewed ESG-like investments, what the Financial Factors rule actually did, and how fiduciaries should consider ESG investments during the “in-between” period where enforcement of the old rule is suspended but the new rule is not yet written.  Join us to learn how to address ESG-related investments today, and what might come next. 

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