BY ALABAMA GENERAL STEVE MARSHALL
(MONTGOMERY) — Attorney General Steve Marshall joined 24 other attorney generals in a lawsuit last week over a Labor Department rule that would threaten the retirement accounts of millions of people.
The rule would allow 401(k) managers to channel their clients’ money into ESG (Environmental, Social, & Governance) investing and undermine the protections for retirees provided by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).
“Once again, the Biden administration is attempting to further its radical climate agenda at the expense of ordinary Americans and their hard-earned money,” Attorney General Steve Marshall continued. “With fears mounting of a possible recession and runaway inflation, it is ruthless to allow money managers to risk trillions of dollars in the retirement savings of America’s working class to pursue an unrealistic and radical environmental agenda. And that is exactly what the Biden administration intends to do.”
The new rule “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights” becomes effective on January 30, 2023. The rule affects two-thirds of the US population’s retirement accounts, affects 152 million American workers and $12 trillion in assets. The strict laws in ERISA are designed to protect retirement planning from unnecessary risks. And by making it easier for advisors to invest based on their policy goals rather than their clients’ financial goals, the Biden administration is jeopardizing Americans’ retirement savings.
The complaint states: “[T]The 2022 Investment Duties Rule makes changes empowering fiduciaries to consider and encourage “intangible benefits” when making investment decisions. Contrary to what Congress clearly intended, these changes make it easier for trustees to act with mixed motives. They also make it difficult for beneficiaries to monitor such behavior.”
The 24 other states joining the lawsuit are Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina, North Dakota , Tennessee, Texas , Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Read the full complaint here. https://www.alabamaag.gov/Documents/news/2023.01.26_1%20Complaint.pdf