We just wrapped up our panel discussion on ESG considerations for ERISA fiduciaries. Jason Blackwell of Mercer (left) and Ali Caffery of Envestnet (center) joined me to discuss how advisers can account for ESG factors through the prism of a fiduciary. We started with the confusion over what is meant by ‘ESG,’ why the DOL worries about fiduciaries pursuing objectives unrelated to financial performance, how the brand new DOL guidance preserves the concept of an ESG factor creating alpha opportunities (and why that direct link to investment performance matters from a legal perspective), the different tools and indices that are out there, how ESG can be incorporated into an IPS, how managers can demonstrate their ESG stripes, DOL’s concerns about ESG-themed QDIAs, and shareholder engagement. Blaine Aikin, Executive Chairman of Fi360, is also pictured (far right) and deserves a ton of credit for allowing us to do this panel at such an important event!
George Michael Gerstein advises financial institutions on the fiduciary and prohibited transaction provisions of ERISA. As co-chair of the fiduciary governance group, he assists clients with tracking, and understanding, the numerous fiduciary developments at the federal and state levels, including the rules and regulations of governmental plans. He also advises clients with respect to the fiduciary duty implications of ESG investing.