Statement Before the Financial Stability Oversight Council
Oct. 21, 2021
Thank you, Secretary Yellen. I’d like to thank my fellow members of the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the many staff who collaborated on this report. I support this thoughtful and thought-provoking report discussing how climate risk could manifest and actions Council members are taking within their authorities and mandates. I encourage the public to take a look at it.
As mentioned in the report, given the Securities and Exchange Commission’s mandate, I’ve asked staff to work on two important projects related to climate risk disclosures. One relates to public companies and the other to investment funds.
First, on public company disclosures: Over the past 90 years, the basic bargain has been that investors get to decide what risks they wish to take. Companies that are raising money from the public have an obligation to share full and fair information with investors on a regular basis.
What investors want changes over the decades; we’ve added Management Discussion and Analysis, executive compensation, and other disclosures over the decades. In the 2020s, investors want to know more about climate risk. Thousands of companies around the globe already provide such information to investors.
I believe the SEC has a role to play in cases like this to facilitate consistent, comparable, and decision-useful disclosures from companies. This helps investors, and it helps companies. Thus, SEC staff is developing a proposal for the Commission’s consideration.
The second area relates to funds.
Today, a lot of funds market themselves as “sustainable,” “green,” and the like.
For the past 80 years, the SEC has had rules to govern the naming of funds. I think we ought to consider updating those naming rules and enhancing disclosures so that investors can see what data, methodologies, and criteria stand behind these names and claims.
Subject to Commission deliberations, any such proposals would be put out to public comment. I look forward to hearing from the public.