President Joe Biden’s expected changes at the SEC will push environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing to become the ultimate megatrend over the next few years, I believe.
This is not just because of the likely tougher approach to the use of fossil fuels and his campaign’s vow to take swift action to tackle the climate emergency.
It is also because of the expected appointment of Gary Gensler to lead the SEC, who is likely to heavily reform and broaden ESG investing and corporate disclosure rules in the U.S.
In doing such, we can assume that Gensler would have the major support on the commission.
For instance, upon her appointment as acting SEC chair, Allison Herren Lee said that during her time as a commissioner, “I have focused on climate and sustainability, and those issues will continue to be a priority for me.”
In The New York Times she wrote that: “Both investors and the broader public need clear information about how businesses are contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, and how they are managing — or not managing — climate risks internally. Realistically, that can happen only through mandatory public disclosure.”
Should the SEC push ahead with beefing-up green investment rules, as is expected, it will close the transatlantic gap that has emerged in recent years as the European watchdogs pushed ahead with increased stricter ESG investing and disclosure regulations.
At the beginning of 2020, I described ESG investing as a “megatrend” of the decade. And throughout the year inflow doubled and ESG funds outperformed the market.
But the tag “megatrend” would now seem somewhat underplayed if the U.S. moves towards ESG-related regulatory reforms and comes into line with Europe.
Responsible investing will become the ultimate investment megatrend should this happen.
In a move to encourage clients to consider the ESG opportunities, last month deVere Group announced it is planning to offer free, independent advice on socially responsible investing, with the aim of positioning $1 billion in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments within five years.
The likely rule changes in the U.S. on ESG investing and corporate disclosures are not as yet heavily priced-in to markets.
Investors should keep a keen eye on this area and move to take advantage of the opportunities.
Nigel Green is founder and CEO of deVere Group. One of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations, de Vere does business in 100 countries and has more than $12 billion under advisement.
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