Value and Importance of Tracking States’ Pro- and Anti-ESG Rules Affecting Public Pension Plans Amid Rising Tensions

As politicians and the public continue to coalesce into pro- and anti-factions as to the use of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in business operations and investment decisions, the private funds industry and, by extension, public pensions are left with increasingly tricky dynamics to navigate. The first step is for public pension funds to keep tabs of the shifting winds in the ESG debates, which Ropes & Gray has helped facilitate via a 50-state website that monitors ESG developments in each state, including legislative actions, executive measures and multi-state coalition efforts. With that information, private fund managers and pension plan managers can chart the best path forward for mitigating any associated risks and determining how to optimize their respective pecuniary and non-pecuniary objectives. To understand the website and how GCs and CCOs can effectively leverage it as a resource, the Private Equity Law Report interviewed Joshua A. Lichtenstein, partner in the firm’s employment, executive compensation and employee benefits group and head of the firm’s ERISA fiduciary practice. See our two‑part series “Ropes & Gray Survey and Forum Consider Credit Fund Structures, Leverage, Conflicts of Interest and Challenging Environment”: Part One (Jul. 19, 2018); and Part Two (Jul. 26, 2018).

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