Fund Firms React to Roe v. Wade's Demise
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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Fund Firms React to Roe v. Wade's Demise

Some big firms in the asset management business are pledging travel support for their employees who visit other states to avoid abortion bans.

Ronald Philip "Ron" O'Hanley
State Street Corporation
Chairman, CEO
A month ago, George Wilbanks, managing partner at Wilbanks Partners and a prominent asset management industry recruiter, publicly urged people to make their voices heard on the issue and called out "the lack of corporate conviction and commentary on the Roe vs. Wade precedent." Now some fund firms are speaking up, at least internally.

Last Friday, in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the United States Supreme Court overturned its prior Roe v. Wade decision, triggering some state laws that began automatically banning or restricting abortion and opening the door to further such laws down the line. Now at least nine firms in the fund biz (some directly, some parents of fund firms) say they will help their own staff travel to dodge the new bans.

BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager and ETF provider (both by AUM), will have its health plan cover "travel expenses incurred for reproductive services," starting on July 1, according to an internal memo from Manish Mehta, global head of human resources at BlackRock, Yahoo! Finance reports. Mehta notes that the company has long covered other reproductive health care costs (related to abortions, birth control, and miscarriages) and travel costs (like for cancer treatment, joint replacement, and transplants).

Goldman Sachs has similarly extended its "healthcare travel reimbursement policies," per an internal memo, Yahoo! Finance and Reuters report.

J.P. Morgan revealed a similar extension in a June 1 memo, three weeks prior to the SCOTUS decision (which was widely expected), CNBC reports.

"Our health care plans have historically covered travel benefits for certain covered services that would require travel," the JPMorgan memo reportedly reads. "Beginning in July, we will expand this benefit to include all covered services that can only be obtained far from your home, which would include legal abortion."

Franklin Templeton and Capital Group already covered such travel expenses and will continue to do so, Pensions & Investments reports, and now Pimco will, too.

"PIMCO will cover reasonable eligible travel expenses for those U.S. employees whose reproductive health services require travel to receive care out-of-state," a company spokesperson told P&I.

Ron O'Hanley, chairman and CEO of State Street (parent of State Street Global Advisors, i.e. SSGA), publicly denounced Dobbs v. Jackson as "a detrimental step back in women's rights."

"Regardless of people's personal views on the issue, we stand firm in our belief that women should have equal access to reproductive healthcare and the ability to make decisions that support their individual rights," O'Hanley wrote in a LinkedIn post. "In light of the US Supreme Court's decision, State Street is working to ensure that all US employees will have access to reproductive healthcare no matter what state they live in."

A State Street spokesperson told P&I that the firm will cover employees' out-of-state travel costs to receive such care.

Also on July 1, Morgan Stanley will add to its benefits reimbursement for travel related to pregnancy care, the Wall Street Journal reports.

And Deutsche Bank (parent of DWS) will be updating its health plan to cover travel and lodging expenses for all medical treatments (including abortion) that are 100 miles or more away, Insider reports.

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