State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Attorney General Alan Wilson join coalition of 23 States in Letter Opposing Proposed Department of Labor Rule That Puts Retirement Savings at Risk

South Carolina’s State Treasurer Curtis Loftis and Attorney General Alan Wilson joined a coalition of state financial officers and attorneys general representing 23 states in a letter commenting on a proposed Department of Labor rule that would fundamentally alter fiduciary standards in the United States designed to protect employee interests in their retirement investments above all other considerations.

The proposed rule change entitled, Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights (EBSA-2021-0013-0001), would provide plan sponsors and investment managers a safe harbor to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment strategies in retirement plans as a default option. ESG funds focus on social causes and political goals when investing assets thereby eroding the traditional fiduciary obligation owed to beneficiaries. The proposed rule would also permit fiduciaries to vote proxies in ways that support ESG goals contrary to shareholder interests.

“This is just another concerning example of how entities pushing liberal agendas are insinuating themselves into financial matters with little regard for the harm these proposals can have on the financial well-being of American citizens,” said State Treasurer Loftis in response to signing on to the letter. “We must stand up for the hard-working people who are saving for their retirement and make sure that our federal government doesn’t allow special interests or social causes to undermine citizens’ ability to save for their future livelihood.”

The letter states: “It is our position that social and political issues should not be considered by fiduciaries in employee retirement savings investment decisions. We are not opposed to any person or entity considering ESG or other social factors when investing their own money; individuals and companies may promote social causes through their investments to the extent they desire. But we are opposed to investment managers and employers being encouraged or mandated to consider ESG factors and protected from legal action when they do.”

In addition to Loftis and Wilson, co-signers to the letter included Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Utah Treasurer Marlo Oaks, Utah State Auditor John Dougall, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Idaho Treasurer Julie Ellsworth, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball, Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, Louisiana Treasurer John Schroder, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, Mississippi Treasurer David McRae, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Missouri Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, Nebraska Attorney General Douglas Peterson, Nebraska Treasurer John Murante, North Dakota Treasurer Thomas Beadle, Ohio Attorney General David Yost, Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor, Oklahoma Treasurer Randy McDaniel, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.    

The full letter can be found here.