U.S. Department of Labor Issues Caution Regarding Recent ESG Focus of Certain Institutional Investors

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - April 25, 2018
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On April 23, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a Field Assistance Bulletin stating that ERISA fiduciaries must always put first the economic interests of the plan and, accordingly, ERISA fiduciaries:

  1. must avoid too readily treating environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues as being economically relevant to any particular investment choice; and
  2. may not incur significant plan expenses to (i) pay for the costs of shareholder resolutions or special shareholder meetings, or (ii) initiate or actively sponsor proxy fights on environmental or social issues.