Schroder backs ESG transparency bill

Published 3:51 pm Saturday, July 8, 2023

Treasurer John M. Schroder has endorsed the Ensuring Sound Guidance (ESG) Act to protect retail investors’ retirement and investment accounts from asset managers who put environmental and social goals ahead of returns. This legislation, sponsored by U.S. Congressmen Andy Barr (R-KY) and Rick Allen (R-GA), would require investment advisers and ERISA retirement plan sponsors to prioritize financial returns over non-pecuniary factors when making investment decisions on behalf of their clients.


“I have been watching for environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing since I took office as Treasurer. Its threat has grown drastically over the years,” Schroder said. “Louisiana will not allow investments made with its money to contradict our state’s way of life. Not on my watch. Investments must be about profits, not politics.”


The bill would require asset managers to advise investors up front about what their ESG investing is trying to achieve, their likelihood of success and how much it is expected to cost in fees and returns.


“Transparency is always a good idea,” Schroder added. “This legislation is another tool to protect Americans’ savings from politically-motivated mismanagement.”


“Our proposed legislation safeguards the savings efforts of hardworking Americans. This critical legislation not only guarantees that advisers make prudent investment choices based on financial factors, but also empowers savers to decide how their money is invested, contrary to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) finalized rule,” said Rep. Barr. “We must take significant action to protect retail investors and retirees from the cancer within our capital markets that is ESG, which prioritizes higher-fee, less diversified and lower return investments.”


“Retirement plan sponsors have a duty to invest their clients’ hard-earned money in a manner that maximizes returns and minimizes risk. Yet, President Biden’s DOL is desperately clinging to its flawed rule that would allow financial advisors to invest Americans’ retirement savings in climate-related ESG funds, which are proven to carry higher risk and charge steeper fees,” said Rep. Allen. “This critical legislation not only ensures advisors are making sound investment decisions based on monetary factors, but also empowers participants to decide how their money is invested—contrary to the DOL’s finalized rule. As Americans continue to grapple with the financial burden of higher costs across the board, we must take meaningful action to protect ERISA retirement plans from this administration’s endless pursuit of their costly, rush-to-green agenda.”


The ESG Act is also endorsed by the American Petroleum Institute (API), Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks, Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), American Free Enterprise Chamber of Commerce, Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), Advancing American Freedom, National Mining Association (NMA), National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Texas Public Policy Institute, Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon, Kentucky Treasurer Allison Ball, West Virginia Treasurer Riley Moore, North Dakota Treasurer Thomas Beadle, South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis, Indiana Treasurer Daniel Elliott, Oklahoma Treasurer Todd Russ, Idaho Treasurer Julie Ellsworth, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar, North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell, Arkansas Treasurer Mark Lowery, Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague and the Kentucky Coal Association.