Pension fund clients of Federated Hermes, a Pittsburgh-based investment fund manager, are demanding an explanation for its sponsorship of a GOP group working actively to undermine action on climate change, the Financial Times reports. Federated Hermes has built a reputation as a proponent of and expertise in ESG investing. It is also a gold sponsor of the State Financial Officers Foundation, a Republican group threatening to yank state pension funds from finance firms that do not sufficiently support fossil fuel industries.
Republican lawmakers and allied groups across the country are mounting coordinated efforts to punish financial firms for insufficiently supporting the fossil fuel industry as part of a broader campaign against investing practices that account for firms’ environmental, social, and corporate governance practices. Those efforts include Texas potentially prohibiting BlackRock and nine European firms from doing business in the state, as well as a directive by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to state pension fund managers to ignore potential environmental, social, or governance risks and instead seek only the highest possible returns. (Federated Hermes: FT $; Texas: Reuters, Bloomberg $; Florida: New York Times $, Bloomberg $)