Asset managers, other industry participants, and others on the left have been outraged over the last several weeks about a new DOL proposal that would essentially bar ESG investments from being included in 401(k)s. Multiple large asset managers, including BlackRock and T. Rowe Price have issued statements asserting how out of touch the new DOL policy would be with current wealth management trends. The general attitude of asset managers is that the DOL is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. According to T. Rowe Price, “There is no factual support for the proposition that ESG is being misused currently … Accordingly, the proposed rule’s efforts to impose new requirements on fiduciaries’ consideration of ESG is not necessary”.
FINSUM: We understand the concern about making sure 401ks put economics first, but there just does not seem to be enough evidence of misbehavior to warrant this kind of restrictive policy. Furthermore, ESG funds have been outperforming conventional ones since the start of the pandemic!