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Protecting Retirees While Encouraging Economically Targetted Investments

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Title: Protecting Retirees While Encouraging Economically Targetted Investments
Author: Zanglein, Jayne Elizabeth
Abstract: The ongoing debate over economically targeted investments is primarily about power and politics and only secondarily about pensions. Critics of economically targeted investments argue that these investments are illegal under ERISA. But clearly this is not the case. In its recent interpretive bulletin, the Department of Labor restated its long-standing position that "all things being equal", pension plan fiduciaries may consider collateral benefits when deciding between investments with commensurate risk and return characteristics. In October 1995, the Heritage Foundation issued a booklet called "How to Close Down the Department of Labor.” In its report, the Foundation suggested that Congress transfer the Pension and Welfare Benefit Administration to Social Security. The Foundation also suggested that Congress abolish the Economically Targeted Investment Clearinghouse as it is "misguided and jeopardizes the safety of pension plan assets.” Against this backdrop of controversy surrounding the Department of Labor's interpretive bulletin on economically targeted investments, it is important to analyze the legality of ETIs within the larger political context. This article analyzes economically targeted investments in a historical, legal, and political context.
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Date: 1996

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