Date of Award
Finance as an Honors Pre-Law Scholar
This Thesis defends the validity of ESG Investing (Environmental, Social, Governance Investing) as an advisor’s fiduciary responsibility. The financial industry is increasingly including ESG considerations when calculating the intrinsic value of a stock. In opposition to this valuation trend, nineteen state attorney generals (Nineteen) have attacked ESG, challenging its legality by claiming that it violates state and federal law and the fiduciary responsibilities that hold investment advisors accountable to their clients. After identifying key elements of fiduciary responsibility that are being ignored by the Nineteen’s position, several key and relevant United States statutes are reviewed and applied to their argument. In doing so, it becomes evident that the Nineteen do not have the best interest of investors in mind not only because they violate key fiduciary elements but also because their position would prevent investors the opportunity to benefit from higher yielding Return on Equity portfolios.
First and foremost, I would like to thank my family for their never-ending support. Thank you for encouraging me to find my passions and to pursue them to the best of my ability. Thank you for always pushing me to do my best. I would also like to extend my appreciation to Dr. Kevin Sylwester for mentoring this thesis. Dr Sylwester has challenged me many times to better understand the complex relationship between business, economics, and the environment. I would also like to thank my many finance and environmental study professors whose knowledge and shared experiences have greatly enhanced my undergraduate experience. The University has invested in my education in multiple ways, and I would be remiss to not thank them for the honor of receiving the Excellence Scholarship. I am extremely grateful to the University Honors Program that encourages diversity of thought, inclusion of multiple disciplines, and broader thinking for the sake of problem-solving real-world issues. Their approach to interdisciplinary education has positively impacted me and helped me to define my career aspirations.