Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Targeted for ESG Practices

A group of U.S. state attorneys general have sent investigative demands to the country's six biggest banks.

By Niket Nishant

A group of U.S. state attorneys general including from Arizona and Texas have sent civil investigative demands to the country’s six biggest banks, alleging their environmental, social, and governance-related (ESG) practices hurt the American energy industry.

Republican-led states have ramped up attacks on what they view as a woke bias at financial companies. Asset manager BlackRock Inc. and investment research firm Morningstar Inc. have also been targeted in recent months.

The attorneys general are seeking documents from the banks about their involvement with the United Nations’ Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), according to their statements on Wednesday.

The NZBA is a group of banks “committed to aligning their lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050,” according to the U.N. website.

The investigation is targeting JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and Morgan Stanley.

“American banks should never put political agendas ahead of the secure retirement of their clients,” Arizona AG Mark Brnovich said in a statement.

“The last thing Americans need right now are corporate activists helping the left bankrupt our fossil fuel industry,” Texas AG Ken Paxton said, adding that the banks practices potentially violate consumer protection laws.

JPMorgan declined to comment, while the other five banks did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

This article was provided by Reuters.

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