Over the past few months, I've covered how Vanguard's ability to buy utility stocks was threatened by a coalition of attorney generals arguing that Vanguard wasn't as passive an investor as the index giant claimed—most recently here.

Vanguard was ultimately granted authorization to keep buying utility stocks, so the immediate threat is gone. But the ESG debate isn't going away. It's also not all about Vanguard—their big index rivals (particularly, BlackRock) are caught up in the mix too.

Oisin Breen, at RIABiz, covered the saga and its potential implications well:

Vanguard Group, BlackRock win brief FERC reprieves, but ESG-hostile AGs may make it illegal for them to run index funds without buzz-kill asterisks, or worse | RIABiz
Pressed by red states to enforce the letter of anti-trust law, FERC mandates BlackRock and Vanguard to commit to index tracking error-causing divestments to limit bank stakes to 10% in funds and 20% overall.

I also spoke with RIABiz's Brooke Southall about Vanguard firing its inhouse quant team from Growth & Income and U.S. Growth—see the link below. And Premium Members can read more of my thoughts here.

Vanguard raises fees on two funds after full-fee, third-party humans replace ineffective, indentured, in-house Vanguard robot | RIABiz
The Malvern, Pa. manager of $7.2 trillion gave ‘careful consideration’ before humble act of self-demotion and adding to fees.