Goldman Sachs Asset Management fined $4 million to settle SEC charges of lax ESG policies


Goldman Sachs Asset Management on Tuesday agreed to pay a $4 million fine to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after the agency claimed it failed to uphold Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policies in several investment strategies. The asset manager failed to have “any written policies and procedures for ESG research” for one product between April 2017 and June 2018, the SEC said in a statement Tuesday, while also claiming those guidelines weren’t consistently followed before February 2020 once they were established. Like others charged with lax ESG standards, Goldman Sachs Asset Management didn’t admit to the SEC’s findings. The penalty still marks another milestone in the SEC’s crackdown on Wall Street investment firms that use ESG labels to attract investor funds but might fail to abide by those standards. In May, BNY Mellon Investment Advisor paid a $1.5 million penalty to the SEC after the agency claimed there were misstatements and omissions concerning its ESG considerations. The regulator made policing ESG standards a bigger focus in 2021 with the rollout of a Climate and ESG Task Force within its enforcement division. The SEC also made headlines after it raided the offices of Deutsche Bank’s asset management arm, DWS Group, after claiming it overstated how much it used ESG criteria in its selection of assets. Goldman Sachs Asset Management said it was pleased to resolve the matter, which addressed historical policies related to three equity group investment portfolios, in a statement.

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