Rule ensures ERISA fiduciaries can choose to consider environmental, social, and governance criteria in investment decisions
Murray: “Financial security is about planning for the future, and you just can’t plan for the future if you aren’t allowed to consider the environmental, social, and governance factors that are shaping it.”
Washington, D.C. —Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement in response to the Biden Administration’s final rule ensuring financial advisors can consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria in their investment decisions for retirement investments.
“This commonsense step is a win for workers, retirees, investors, businesses, communities, the environment—everyone. Financial security is about planning for the future, and you just can’t plan for the future if you aren’t allowed to consider the environmental, social, and governance factors that are shaping it. By ensuring fiduciaries can consider all these factors to make sound investment decisions, this rule will help make the futures of people in Washington state and across the country more just, diverse, sustainable, and financially secure.”
Senator Murray was a vocal opponent of the Trump Administration’s previous rules to restrict the use of ESG investment strategies. She wrote several letters arguing how the move was at odds, not only with efforts across the country to promote diversity and racial equity, and to be more sustainable, but also with what is best for workers and retirees given evidence that ESG investments provide comparable returns and can mitigate risk, and have outperformed such traditional investments in past years.
The Biden Administration’s new rule reverses the Trump-era policy on this issue and provides legal certainty to ERISA plans that choose to consider ESG factors in their investment decisions or offer ESG investment options to plan participants—similar to what Senators Murray and Tina Smith (D-MN) advocated through legislation they introduced last year. The Biden Administration’s final rule also reverses a Trump-era rule to undermine the ability of fiduciaries to use proxy voting to advance the interests of their clients.