Rep. Banks Introduces Bill to Protect Pensions from ESG
Washington, September 6, 2023
Yesterday Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03), member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, introduced the Providing Complete Information To Retirement Investors Act, which would amend the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to warn participants before making potentially making risky investment decisions, such as in ESG investments, through a brokerage window. Read the bill text HERE.
Said Rep. Banks: “When it comes to making smart investment decisions, American retirees and workers deserve to be armed with the fullest information possible. My bill would ensure that ERISA participants are fully aware of the financial risks associated with ESG before they choose how to invest their hard-earned savings. ”
As the Supreme Court has attested, there is no room in ERISA for using retirees’ savings to advance nonpecuniary goals like ESG. However, some ERISA plans offer brokerage windows or self-directed brokerage accounts, which allow participants to invest based on such nonpecuniary factors.
To protect pensioners’ hard-earned savings, Rep. Banks’ Providing Complete Information To Retirement Investors Act would require a four-part pop-up warning to be displayed to ERISA participants before investing in a brokerage window:
1. The participant may choose to construct a retirement savings portfolio from designated investment alternatives prudently selected and monitored by a plan fiduciary. In choosing and monitoring the designated investment alternatives, the plan’s fiduciary considers the risk of loss and the opportunity for gain (or other return) compared with reasonably available alternatives.
2. The plan’s brokerage window is not a designated investment alternative, and the investments available within the window have not been prudently selected and are not monitored by any plan fiduciary.
3. Depending on the investment selected, a participant may experience diminished returns, higher fees, or greater investment risk through the brokerage window.
4. The participant should be presented with comparative hypothetical balances of the participant’s balance projected to age 70 based on different net returns of 4%, 6%, and 8%.
Rep. Banks previously introduced the Protecting Americans’ Retirement Savings Act (PARSA), which would block ERISA plans from making dangerous new investments in companies controlled by or based in our foreign adversaries, as well as require the disclosure of existing investments in other foreign adversary and sanctioned entities.