SEC Commissioner’s Speech Rankles ESG Industry
By Ginger Szala
Impact investing took a direct hit with a speech by Securities and Exchange Commissioner Hester Peirce delivered recently to the American Enterprise Institute, just before the July 10 Financial Services House Committee hearing on Building a Sustainable and Competitive Economy: An Examination of Proposals to Improve Environmental, Social and Governance Disclosures.
The speech, which took on environmental, social and governance ratings and proxy voting especially, was seen by some in the impact investing business as anything from surprisingly uninformed to a call to action for the ESG industry to do better.
“As ESG investing has seen significant uptake among a variety of investors [such as UBS, TIAA, Blackrock, State Street] it’s importance and legitimacy have grown too,” said Jonas Kron, director of shareholder advocacy for Trillium Asset Management, which specializes in ESG investing. “As we’ve seen more of that, we’re also seeing pushback from corners that want to keep the marketplace in the 20th century. In that sense [the speech was] not a surprise.”
Photo courtesy of miuenski miuenski.