SEC is quietly preparing for enforcement actions against asset managers making claims about their ESG investment strategies. This article from Financial Times reports:
“The US Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement division has sent document requests, including subpoenas, to several asset managers relating to their environmental, social and governance investment marketing this year, lawyers said, suggesting a potential crackdown looming for the sustainable fund world. Among the SEC’s areas of inquiry are conventional investment funds that have repurposed themselves as ESG funds…”
The article includes a quote from our friend Jina Choi at Morrison Foerster (Gold sponsor of our upcoming conference) and former head of the SEC’s San Francisco office:
“ESG remains a priority area for the SEC and I would expect to see some enforcement cases before the end of the agency’s fiscal year in September.”
Michael Piwowar, a former SEC commissioner offered this perspective:
“The recent popularity of ESG investing, and the higher fees that frequently accompany it, are two criteria that could draw the enforcement division’s attention as it seeks to protect investors.”
At the moment, very little is known about details or names of asset managers who received these subpoenas/information requests. Our own research turned up nothing more than a handful of other articles referencing the Financial Times piece. We will be watching this closely for any developments.