Comment on Proposed Regulation: Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights
4 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2022
Date Written: December 13, 2021
In my view, while it is a significant improvement over its predecessor, the proposed rule’s persistent relegation of job creation/preservation to the status of mere “collateral benefit” is a mistake and undermines ERISA’s duty of loyalty. In reality, job creation and preservation are inextricably linked to fund financial health. Relegating that fact to a mere collateral benefit means trustees fail to consider the effect on a pension of investing in projects that eliminate the jobs of the fund’s own participants, or ignore the benefit of creating new jobs and thereby new pension contributors. This runs counter to President Biden’s executive order 14030 noting the importance of “creating well-paying job opportunities for workers.” It also runs counter to the spirit and purpose of the duty of loyalty. I therefore urge the Department to designate job creation and preservation as an ESG factor material to the risk-return analysis under §2550.404a-1(b)(4), or as one “relevant” to said analysis, should the Department adopt a relevance standard in lieu of materiality.
Keywords: ESG, ERISA, duty of loyalty, duty of prudence, fiduciary, Department of Labor, regulations, labor's capital, CSR, social responsibility
JEL Classification: J26, J33, J83, J41, K22, K31, N30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation