While not covered in the Dechert paper on ESG investing (see our May 31 blog posting), a recent Presidential Executive Order is an example of how ESG investing may be impacted by the vagaries of politics. In early April 2019, an Executive Order was issued directing the Department of Labor ("DOL") to assess, among other things, how the energy industry is being impacted by the proxy voting of retirement plans. Specifically, the Order directs DOL to do the following, within 180 days of the date the Order was issued:
1. Complete a review of available data filed with DOL by retirement plans subject to the ERISA in order to identify whether there are discernible trends with respect to such plans’ investments in the energy sector;
2. Provide an update to the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy on any discernible trends in energy investments by such plans; and
3. Complete a review of existing DOL guidance on the fiduciary responsibilities for proxy voting to determine whether any such guidance should be rescinded, replaced, or modified to ensure consistency with current law and policies that promote long-term growth and maximize return on ERISA plan assets.
A copy of the order can be accessed by clicking the headline to this blurb.