Seyfarth Synopsis: The ever evolving landscape of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and 401(k) plan investment options may have just become even more complicated.

As we’ve covered on our blog over the last few years, the DOL’s guidance on whether environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments are an appropriate investment for ERISA plans has changed significantly. (See our prior blog posts here, here, and here for more background on that complicated history.) The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has added a new potential twist that could place fiduciaries of retirement plans, like 401(k) plans, and the Board of Directors of companies that sponsor such plans in a very difficult position. Specifically, the SEC recently released correspondence related to its denial of the request from two different companies to exclude from its proxy materials a shareholder’s proposal concerning the investment options under the company’s retirement plan.

To read the full legal update, click here.