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Plan investments

DOL issues RFI on disclosure and fiduciary issues with respect to “climate-related financial risks”

On February 14, 2022, the Department of Labor published a “Request for Information on Possible Agency Actions to Protect Life Savings and Pensions from Threats of Climate-Related Financial Risk.” Among other things, the RFI solicits comments on whether DOL should collect data on climate-related financial risk (CRFR) for retirement plans, whether certain guaranteed lifetime investment products (e.g., annuities) may mitigate/hedge CRFR and whether DOL should facilitate their inclusion in DC plans, and whether there is a need to educate participants (e.g., in participant directed DC plans) about CRFR.

Retirement income, inflation, and retirement finance

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has steadily risen throughout the year, with prices in September 2021 5.4% higher than the beginning of the year. This represents, fundamentally, a reduction in the buying power of a (nominal) dollar since the beginning of the year. How does this affect retirees and those saving for retirement? The effect…Read More

DOL proposes new ESG and proxy voting regulation – would significantly change rules adopted by the Trump DOL at the end of 2020

On October 13, 2021, the Department of Labor released a proposed regulation on “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights” (environmental, social, or governance (ESG) investing and proxy voting), proposing to significantly revise the position taken by the Trump DOL at the end of 2020 on these issues. (We discuss the…Read More

Biden Administration agency agenda

In this article we review possible retirement policy agency initiatives of a Biden Administration. We will follow up with a discussion of possible legislative initiatives when the Congressional situation becomes clearer.

SECURE 2.0 – the Securing a Strong Retirement Act

On October 27, 2020, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Brady (R-TX) released the Securing a Strong Retirement Act – a set of retirement savings policy changes with bi-partisan support. The bill builds on changes made by 2019’s Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act and may provide a template for further improvement of our current retirement savings system.

DOL releases final ESG rule

On October 30, 2020, the Department of Labor released its final rule on consideration of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors in retirement plan investments under ERISA’s general fiduciary rules.

DOL releases proposed regulation on ESG investments

On June 24, 2020, the Department of Labor released a proposed amendment to regulations under ERISA section 404(a) (which describes general fiduciary standards), providing regulatory guidance with respect to fiduciary decisions to invest plan assets based on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors or in ESG-themed funds.

Markets 2020 – effect on ERISA minimum funding requirements – March 24, 2020, update

As we discussed in our introduction to these issues, the current situation is (to state the obvious) very volatile. Since our last article (posted March 16, 2020), corporate bond yields gyrated wildly, increasing by more than 100 basis points before pulling back yesterday, to levels above those at December 2019. Assets, on the other hand, remain dramatically lower…Read More