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DOL Secretary Eugene Scalia Eugene Scalia, U.S. secretary of labor; the Employee Benefits Security Administration submitted the ESG rule change, called “Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments,” to the White House last week. (Photo: Bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) – Despite widespread objections from the asset management industry, President Donald Trump, through the U.S. Department of Labor led by Eugene Scalia, is speeding ahead with a proposal to make it more difficult for fiduciaries of retirement plans to direct money to ESG-focused funds.

The Employee Benefits Security Administration submitted the rule change, called “Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments,” to the White House last week. The administration’s stance is that ESG investment strategies sacrifice returns and promote goals unrelated to financial performance. It wants to adjust the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to require those overseeing pension and 401(k) plans to always put economic interests ahead of so-called non-pecuniary goals, in what seems intended as a direct attack on ESG and green investing.

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