On February 24, acting Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission Allison Herren Lee issued a statement that she has directed the Division of Corporation Finance (the “Staff”) to focus on climate-change disclosures in public company filings. Referencing the SEC’s guidance on climate-change disclosure previously issued in 2010, she stated that the Staff will begin reviewing climate-change disclosures to evaluate compliance with the guidance and disclosure obligations under the federal securities laws, engaging with public companies and considering how the market is managing climate-related risks. In her statement, Chair Lee emphasized that investors are increasingly considering climate-related issues in making their investment decisions, and that it is the SEC’s duty to make sure that investors have access to material information when making those decisions.
Continue Reading Acting SEC Chair Issues Statement on Climate-Change Disclosures

On October 30, the European Commission (the Commission) published a letter from John Berrigan (the Commission’s Director General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union) to the European Securities and Markets Authority, European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, and the European Banking Authority (jointly the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs)) regarding a delay to the implementation of detailed subordinate rules under the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR or Disclosure Regulation) caused by the COVID-19 pandemic (the Letter).
Continue Reading ESG: European Commission Extends Consultation Period for Rules Under Disclosure Regulation

On October 22, the European Commission (Commission) launched its formal public consultation (Consultation) on its review of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).

The Consultation follows the Commission’s June 10 report on the application and scope of the AIFMD (see the June 12, 2020 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest) and aims to achieve a more efficient, effective and competitive European market for alternative investment funds (AIFs) as a part of a stable financial system. The Consultation also notes that it may result in adjustments the existing European mutual fund rules (UCITS).
Continue Reading AIFMD II – European Commission Consultation on AIFM Directive Review

On September 21, the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) published a survey setting out the details on mandatory disclosure templates on sustainability‐related disclosures in financial services (the Survey).
Continue Reading ESG: EU Survey on Mandatory Disclosure Templates for Use by Financial Services Firms

On September 9, the Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee of the Market Risk Advisory Committee of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission released a comprehensive report addressing potential risks to the financial system arising from, or related to, climate change. The report is the first of its kind from a US financial regulator. Its findings and recommendations are wide-ranging, frequently extending beyond the CFTC’s remit.
Continue Reading CFTC Subcommittee Releases Report on Managing Climate Risk in the US Financial System

On August 19, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a letter it sent to the European Commission on its proposed areas of recommendation for the upcoming review of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD).

Since AIFMD’s implementation in 2011 and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, ESMA and EU financial regulators have identified areas of improvement to AIFMD. The review provides an opportunity for their recommendations to be enacted.
Continue Reading ESMA Publishes Letter to the European Commission on the AIFMD Review

On June 2, the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) and its Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) published a recommendation for second reading of the proposed Taxonomy Regulation on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment (the Recommendation).
Continue Reading ESG: ECON and ENVI Publish Recommendation for Second Reading of Taxonomy Regulation