President Joe Biden's Labor Department recently announced a new rule that will permit money managers to play politics with trillions of dollars of people's retirement savings.
The administration is pushing environmental, social and governance investing, which allows retirement fund managers to select stocks of companies based on their positions on social and environmental issues.
Put simply, retirement savings will be used as leverage to force companies to reduce their carbon emissions and establish racial and gender quotas and other social justice fads completely unrelated to securing a high return on workers' lifetime savings.
For example, to reduce greenhouse gases, money managers have divested in traditional oil and gas companies such as Exxon or Chevron. How has that worked out so far? Last year, these were two of the highest-performing stocks.
Socially conscious investing has been around for decades. I have no problem with individual shareholders choosing stocks that comport with their personal values. I have friends, for example, who refuse to invest in Starbucks because the coffee company is fighting unionization by employees. Fine. It's a free country.
But it's an entirely different matter when trillion-dollar investment and retirement funds such as BlackRock inject their own biases into the way they invest people's savings without their knowledge or consent.
It's even worse when these biases rob investors of a high rate of return on their nest eggs.
Terrence Keeley, a former executive at BlackRock, blew the whistle on this scam in the Wall Street Journal by noting that since 2017, when the ESG fad took hold, these funds have had an annual rate of return of 6.3 percent — versus 8.9 percent for the stock market as a whole. Investors lost 2.6 percent per year on their retirement funds. There goes the down payment on that retirement home in Arizona or Florida.
What is insidious about the new Biden administration ESG rules is that they permit and even tacitly encourage portfolio managers at firms such as BlackRock to violate their fiduciary duty to their clients by allowing ESG factors to trump sound investment decisions. Federal regulators are supposed to be ensuring the soundness of retirement funds, not shrinking them.
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Published on 2/20/2023 (30 days ago) Solar, Wind & EV's