Our Founding Fathers set up a government where the legislative body made the laws. Unfortunately we have wandered far from that concept–many of our laws are now made by unelected bureaucrats who are not held accountable by the voters. On Wednesday, The Washington Times posted an article that illustrates the problem with this.
The article reports:
The Biden administration has quietly finalized a rule allowing employers to funnel workers’ 401(k) funds into investments that support woke causes that address issues such as climate change and diversity.
The Labor Department approved the rule last week, just two days before the Thanksgiving break. It will affect roughly 150 million workers and $10 trillion in assets covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.
The rule says asset managers and retirement plan administrators should consider environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors when selecting investments.
Now your retirement advisor will be picking stocks according to their ESG factor–not according to your best interests. Also note that the rule came from the Labor Department–not Congress.
The article continues:
That would encourage money managers to balance financial returns with investments that support wind and solar energy or have diverse boards of directors.
The rules also remove a restriction blocking employers from using an ESG fund as a default option for workers automatically enrolled in 401(k) plans. That means workers could be supporting causes that don’t align with their political views.
It also rescinds Trump-era regulations that require retirement plan administrators and asset managers to choose investments based solely on participants’ financial interests.
The article also notes:
Labor Department officials said the Trump administration rules “unnecessarily restrained” fiduciaries’ ability to weigh ESG factors when choosing 401(k) investments.
“A final rule is necessary to reverse the [Trump-era] rule’s chilling effect on the integration of ESG factors into the investment selection and asset management process,” Lisa M. Gomez, assistant secretary of labor for the Employee Benefits Security Administration, told reporters during a conference call to discuss the rule.
Ms. Gomez emphasized that investment managers may consider ESG factors when making decisions but are not required to do so.
“While climate change is a critical issue, that’s not what this rule is about,” she said.
Republicans say it’s a coordinated effort by money managers to invest Americans’ retirement funds into woke causes.
The article concludes:
A study by financial services giant Morgan Stanley found that ESG funds outperformed their peers by 4.3% last year. The company attributed the higher performance to a broader acceptance of ESG funds among asset managers.
Researchers at EDHEC Business School in France concluded this summer that the ESG market has hit maturity and will soon peter out. They said companies will incur greater costs by trying to improve their environmental and social scores, which will lead to lower profits over the long haul.
This is bad news for anyone who is retired or planning to retire in the near future.