SEC Officials Clarify the Commission’s Stance on ESG Investing and the Role of Disclosure

Demand among investors for PE funds with investment strategies influenced by environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors has grown rapidly in recent years. Investors require clear and meaningful information to evaluate a fund’s approach toward ESG issues, compare funds and make informed investment decisions. Although investors increasingly rely on quantitative models, ESG considerations are often subjective and are more effectively assessed qualitatively. Two SEC officials highlighted the importance and challenges of disclosures relating to ESG investing at two recent events. First, Chairman Jay Clayton discussed the issues at a webinar hosted by FCLTGlobal and moderated by Mark Wiseman, chair of the Alberta Investment Management Corporation. Commissioner Elad L. Roisman later addressed the topic in his keynote speech at the Society for Corporate Governance National Conference. This article highlights the key takeaways from Clayton’s and Roisman’s remarks. For coverage of Clayton’s and Roisman’s views on the accredited investor definition, see our two-part series: “Proposed Changes and SEC Commissioner Perspectives” (Mar. 3, 2020); and “Key Takeaways for Private Fund Managers” (Mar. 10, 2020).

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