New DOL Guidance on ESG Factors in ERISA Plan Investments
On Nov. 22, 2022, the Department of Labor issued a final regulation titled “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights” (Final Rule). The Final Rule explicitly permits retirement plan fiduciaries, such as 401(k) plan sponsors, to consider climate change and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when selecting investment options for retirement plans. The Final Rule also clarifies how fiduciaries can satisfy their duties when voting proxies and exercising shareholder rights, including voting on shareholder resolutions and board nominations.
This webinar provided a brief overview of the key provisions in the Final Rule applicable to ESG factors in plan investments.
David LevinePrincipal Co-Chair Plan Sponsor Practice, Groom Law Group
David N. Levine is a principal at Groom Law Group, Chartered. Mr. Levine advises plan sponsors, advisors, and other service providers on a wide range of employee benefits matters, from health and welfare to retirement and executive compensation matters.
Mr. Levine was previously the Chair of the IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (2011-2013) and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association. Mr. Levine regularly speaks on plan design, fiduciary governance, and legislative issues. He is recognized in the Chambers USA guide for Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation. Mr. Levine received his J.D., from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and his B.A., with general and departmental honors, from Johns Hopkins University.
Gina GombarVP, Government Affairs and Associate General Counsel, IPA
Kevin WalshPrincipal, Groom Law Group
Kevin L. Walsh advises clients on a wide range of fiduciary matters and other issues involving benefit plans. His practice encompasses helping asset managers and other entities that design investment products build innovative investment offerings designed to enable defined contribution plan participants access to asset classes, like private equity and digital assets, that have traditionally only been available to defined benefit plans.
While Kevin counsels clients primarily on issues related to Title I of ERISA, he also works with clients on the intersection of ERISA and other federal statutes such as securities laws, sanctions laws, and other laws that impact retirement plan investments. Kevin is also a member of Groom’s Policy and Legislation Group, where he leverages his deep legislative experience on behalf of clients by providing technical legislative drafting services and strategic advice on interacting with the legislative and executive branches.
Recently, he has been involved in drafting comment letters related to Securities Exchange Commission and Employee Benefit Security Administration efforts to regulate environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) investing.