Navigating the Evolving Legal and Regulatory ESG Investing Terrain (Part One of Two)

Driven both by investor demand and by E.U. regulatory initiatives, investing that takes into account environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors has been growing in importance in the asset management industry. A recent panel at the Seward & Kissel 2020 Private Funds Forum provided an analysis of the evolving business and regulatory landscape for ESG investing. The program featured Seward & Kissel partners Debra Franzese, Patricia A. Poglinco and John Ryan; as well as Simmons & Simmons partner Lucian Firth. This two-part series discusses the key takeaways from the presentation. This first article analyzes the definition of ESG, the key drivers of ESG investing and the SEC’s approach to ESG. The second article will enumerate the challenges posed by new interpretations of the duties of ERISA fiduciaries, the E.U.’s new sustainable finance disclosure regulation and the outlook for ESG investing. See “A Look at KPMG’s Evolving Asset Management Regulation Report: Fee and Expense Disclosure; Responsible Investing; and Market Access (Part Two of Two)” (Sep. 10, 2020).

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