Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Moving ESG Beyond Policy into Practice

Bankers Seek Common Ground with Politicians

Author: David Schwartz

Accountability in voting is in the news, and nowhere more so than on Wall Street. Through their U.S. credit policy association and its Asian counterpart, Bankers have responded to suspicion among critics that problems abound in the murkiness of the proxy voting practices of asset managers for large pensions, mutual funds, and other institutional investors. With the launch of the "Global Framework for ESG and Securities Lending (GFESL)," the partnership by the two industry associations aims to provide a shared decision-making framework for managing ESG considerations in securities lending. But does it go far enough?

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Saturday, May 22, 2021

Get Your ESG House in Order

Here Come the Regulators.

Author: David Schwartz

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing has taken global financial markets by storm over the last few years. Post-pandemic, the demand for ESG investments has only intensified and has proven to be much more durable than a fad. However, lack of consistency and transparency threatens the trustworthiness of ESG as a category, and has led to accusations of 'greenwashing.'  As a result, US regulators and their counterparts in the EU and UK have begun building regulatory and enforcement momentum, focusing on the quality and accuracy of ESG disclosures by asset managers and investment funds. Accounting and other standard setters have joined their regulatory brethren in calling for consistency in financial and non-financial ESG reporting.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021

EU Tips the Scales toward ESG-Friendly Financial Firms

SFDR is About to Set off a Competitive Frenzy

Author: David Schwartz

The European Union has embarked on an aggressive legislative push to make environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations as a focus of financial services industry regulation. The first salvo in the EU push, the Regulation on Sustainability-Related Disclosures in the Financial Services Sector (SFDR), was finalized in December of 2019, with an implementation deadline for key provisions (Level 1) on March 10, 2021. The new regulation is broadly applicable to almost any type of asset manager, including investment firms, banks, pension funds, and insurance companies. The effect of SFDR is expected (and may even be intended) to be felt beyond the financial sector, shifting market appetites toward ESG-friendly companies, giving such companies a competitive advantage in the ability to raise capital in the corporate finance market.

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Categories: All, Cross-Post

Tags: EU, ESG

Friday, October 30, 2020

Regulators Want ESG Funds to Justify their Strategies

Author: David Schwartz

Today the Department of Labor (DOL) issued final rules clarifying the regulatory guideposts for fiduciaries of private-sector retirement and other employee benefit plans in light of recent trends involving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing. The DOL is not the only regulator with ESG funds in their cross-hairs. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has begun verifying asset managers’ and mutual funds’ ESG strategies through examination and is considering amending the mutual fund “name test rule” to ensure funds are living up to their ESG promises to shareholders.

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