The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed amendments to rules and reporting forms to promote consistent, comparable, and reliable information for investors concerning funds’ and advisers’ incorporation of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.
The proposed changes would apply to certain registered investment advisers, advisers exempt from registration, registered investment companies, and business development companies.
“I am pleased to support this proposal because, if adopted, it would establish disclosure requirements for funds and advisers that market themselves as having an ESG focus,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “ESG encompasses a wide variety of investments and strategies. I think investors should be able to drill down to see what’s under the hood of these strategies. This gets to the heart of the SEC’s mission to protect investors, allowing them to allocate their capital efficiently and meet their needs.”
The proposed amendments seek to categorize certain types of ESG strategies broadly and require funds and advisers to provide more specific disclosures in fund prospectuses, annual reports, and adviser brochures based on the ESG strategies they pursue. Funds focused on the consideration of environmental factors generally would be required to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their portfolio investments.
Funds claiming to achieve a specific ESG impact would be required to describe the specific impact(s) they seek to achieve and summarize their progress on achieving those impacts. Funds that use proxy voting or other engagement with issuers as a significant means of implementing their ESG strategy would be required to disclose information regarding their voting of proxies on particular ESG-related voting matters and information concerning their ESG engagement meetings.
Finally, to complement the proposed ESG disclosures in fund prospectuses, annual reports, and adviser brochures, the proposal would require certain ESG reporting on Forms N-CEN and ADV Part 1A, which are forms on which funds and advisers, respectively, report census-type data that inform the Commission’s regulatory, enforcement, examination, disclosure review, and policymaking roles.
The proposing release will be published in the Federal Register. The comment period will remain open for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.