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EBSA issues new guidance on ESG, shareholder engagement by plan fiduciaries

This past Monday, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) released a Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB), which advised that fiduciaries of ERISA covered plans must avoid too readily treating ESG issues as being economically relevant to any particular investment choice. It further advises that ERISA does not necessarily require plans to adopt investment policy statements with express guidelines on ESG factors. Guidance from the DOL published in 2015, which acknowledged that ESG factors can have a financial impact on retirement plan investments. IB 2015-01 stated that when ESG factors have economic value, they are ‘more than just tie-breakers, but rather ar

The Purpose of Asset Management

Below is the executive summary for Dr. Hawley's report "The Purpose of Asset Management" Executive Summary Asset management – the investment industry – is huge. It will invest more than $111 trillion worldwide by 2020. It already controls £5.7 trillion in the UK today. How that money is invested matters. Britons rely on the asset management industry for retirement security, for vacation savings, for buying a home, or just to save generally. British industry and commerce rely on it to finance the real economy and to create jobs. But how well does today’s asset management industry work? Are its interests aligned with savers and the real economy? Might it do better? In this paper, Jim Hawley an

Editorial: As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved

At The Denver Post on Monday, more than two dozen reporters, editors, photographers, videographers, page designers, digital producers and opinion staff will walk out the door. Our marching orders are to cut a full 30 by the start of July. These heartbreaking instructions raise the question: Does this cut, which follows so many in recent years that our ranks have shriveled from more than 250 to fewer than 100 today, represent the beginning of the end for the Voice of the Rocky Mountain Empire? The cuts, backed by our owner, the New York City hedge fund Alden Global Capital, also are a mystery, if you look at them from the point of view of those of us intent on running a serious news operation

The Working Class Has a $3 Trillion Weapon. Are They Willing to Use It?

It feels like America’s working class has been losing the class war for as long as we can remember. But it has one wildly powerful, often forgotten tool: trillions of dollars sitting in pension funds. Might this enormous pool of capital be labor’s greatest weapon in its fight against the power of capital itself? The awesome political potential of this money is the topic of “The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder,” a new book by David Webber, a law professor at Boston University. Even though organized labor has been getting its ass kicked politically for decades now, its vast pension funds can exercise an incredible amount of power—though their ability to do so is under continuous assault.

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