SEC creates enforcement task force focused on climate and ESG issues
05 March 2021
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has created a Climate and ESG Task Force in the Division of Enforcement. The task force will be led by Kelly L. Gibson, the Acting Deputy Director of Enforcement, who will oversee a Division-wide effort, with 22 members drawn from the SEC’s headquarters, regional offices, and Enforcement specialized units.
Consistent with increasing investor focus and reliance on climate and ESG-related disclosure and investment, the Climate and ESG Task Force will develop initiatives to identify ESG-related misconduct proactively. The task force will also coordinate the use of Division resources, including through the use of data analysis to mine and assess information across registrants, to identify potential violations.
The initial focus will be to identify any material gaps or misstatements in issuers’ disclosure of climate risks under existing rules. The task force will also analyze disclosure and compliance issues relating to investment advisers’ and funds’ ESG strategies.
The task force’s work will complement the agency’s other initiatives in this area, including the recent appointment of Satyam Khanna as a Senior Policy Advisor for Climate and ESG. As an integral component of the agency’s efforts to address these risks to investors, the task force will work closely with other SEC Divisions and Offices, including the Divisions of Corporation Finance, Investment Management, and Examinations.
Proactively addressing emerging disclosure gaps that threaten investors and the market has always been core to the SEC’s mission. This task force brings together a broad array of experience and expertise, which will allow us to better police the market, pursue misconduct, and protect investors.—Kelly L. Gibson
In addition, the Climate and ESG Task Force will evaluate and pursue tips, referrals, and whistleblower complaints on ESG-related issues, and provide expertise and insight to teams working on ESG-related matters across the Division.