The full article can be found here.
Plan sponsors and financial services firms that act as fiduciaries to ERISA plans and “plan asset” funds should take note of a new rule proposal that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced today. The proposed rule, “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights,” would address ERISA fiduciaries’ duties with regard to considering climate change and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when selecting investments and exercising shareholder rights.
This rule, if adopted, would have significant implications for financial services firms that act as ERISA fiduciaries. The comment period will run for 60 days after the rule’s publication in the Federal Register. We will be preparing a detailed analysis in the coming days.
Recent incidents like the Colonial Pipeline cyber attack and the Equifax data breach highlight the vulnerability of private information and critical IT systems. Given that defined contribution assets are now at $12 trillion, there’s increased concern over retirement savings being more at risk since plan sponsors and their vendors collect highly-sensitive personal data from plan participants and beneficiaries.
In April, the U.S. Department of Labor announced new guidance for plan sponsors, plan fiduciaries, record keepers and plan participants on best practices for maintaining cybersecurity, including tips on how to protect retirement benefits. This is the first time the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has issued cybersecurity guidance which includes the following discussion points plan sponsors must follow:
- Tips for Hiring a Service Provider: Helps plan sponsors and fiduciaries prudently select a service provider with strong cybersecurity practices and monitors their activities, as ERISA requires.
- Cybersecurity Program Best Practices: Assists plan fiduciaries and record-keepers in their responsibilities to manage cybersecurity risks.
- Online Security Tips: Offers plan participants and beneficiaries who check their retirement accounts online basic rules to reduce the risk of fraud and loss.
When: Monday, October 25, 2021. 2 pm – 2:50 pm EST/11:00 am-11:50 am PST
Moderator: Tim Rouse, Executive Director, The Spark Institute, Inc.
- George Michael Gerstein, Fiduciary Governance Group Co-Chair, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP
- Barbara Erickson, Retirement Specialist, Gladstone Institutes
- Mike Fuller, Info Security Sr Engineer II, Principal Financial Group
- Chris Magno, General Manager, Service Organization, Security and Risk Management Team, ADP Retirement Services
Register for the live, in-person event here.
Register for the virtual conference here.
The SEC has scheduled an open meeting for 10 am on Wednesday, September 29, at which the agenda will consist of the following:
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
ITEM 1: Enhanced Reporting of Proxy Votes by Registered Management Investment Companies; Reporting of Executive Compensation Votes by Institutional Investment Managers
OFFICE: Division of Investment Management
STAFF: Sarah ten Siethoff, Brian M. Johnson, Angela Mokodean, Nathan Schuur
The Commission will consider whether to propose form amendments to enhance the information certain registered investment companies report about their proxy votes. The Commission will also consider proposing a new rule and form amendments to require institutional investment managers subject to section 13(f) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to report proxy votes relating to executive compensation matters, as required by section 14A of the Exchange Act.
For further information, please contact Brian M. Johnson and Angela Mokodean, Division of Investment Management, at (202) 551-6792.
A U.S. Labor Department proposal that is expected to undo limits the Trump administration set on socially conscious retirement investing could serve another purpose: giving regulators an open door to settle the debate over climate-friendly investing for good.