Prevalence of ESG Strategies Among Shari’a‑Compliant Funds and Attendant Issues

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors continue to merit attention in the private funds space and more generally in investment-making decisions. ESG investing is not without its opponents, however, as some U.S. institutional investors are pushing back on certain aspects of ESG investing. Further, the SEC is focusing on enforcement and rulemaking activity around ESG investing, with an emphasis on greenwashing. Nonetheless, one byproduct of any cautiousness as to ESG investing could be an increased interest in Shari’a-compliant funds or other products which may embody many features of ESG investing without simultaneously running afoul of any regulations or rules. In a guest article, Morgan Lewis partners Amanjit K. Fagura and Alishia K. Sullivan explore recent ESG trends; the interplay of ESG investing and Shari’a compliance; risks and considerations associated with forming ESG Shari’a-compliant funds; and how those risks have affected fund launches to date. See “What Fund Managers Should Know About the Anti‑ESG Movement Targeting State Pension Plans” (Oct. 4, 2022); and “Core Features of the SEC’s Proposed ESG Rules and the Ethos Driving Its Release” (Jul. 26, 2022).

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