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Red State Republicans’ War on ESG Will Have Losses on Both Sides

GOP lawmakers in some of the most conservative US states are trying to ban banks and asset managers that consider ESG criteria from their pension funds and municipal markets, but the move might backfire. 

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks during a rally in Hialeah, Florida, US, on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022.

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks during a rally in Hialeah, Florida, US, on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022.

Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

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The financial consequences for most asset managers and banks from all the anti-ESG rhetoric coming out of the mouths of Republican politicians in the US is almost certain to be minimal—at least for now.

Even if money managers who consider ESG criteria were banned from handling public pension funds in states such as Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia—where ESG skepticism is high—a back of the envelope review supports the notion that any business losses would be insignificant relative to the firms’ overall bottom line.