SIFMA AMG provided comments to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on issues to consider as the SEC evaluates creating…
June 17, 2022
Submitted electronically via SEC.gov
Vanessa Countryman, Secretary
Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, DC 20549-1090
Re: File No. S7-10-22 The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors
Dear Ms. Countryman:
The Asset Management Group of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA AMG”)1 appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Commission’s proposal2 to enhance and standardize climate-related disclosures.3 SIFMA AMG is supportive of the Commission’s goals to elicit “[c]onsistent, comparable, and reliable disclosures on the material climate-related risks.”4 This information is valuable to the investment assessment process. Information currently included in voluntary disclosures published by registrants under leading frameworks and standards, including the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board standards, the World Economic Forum Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics and the Global Reporting Initiative standards, is regularly reviewed by SIFMA AMG members and taken into account when making certain investment decisions. However, the lack of a mandatory framework applicable to all registrants leads to disclosure that is incomplete, not comparable and in many cases simply not provided.
1 SIFMA AMG brings the asset management community together to provide views on U.S. and global policy and to create industry best practices. SIFMA AMG’s members represent U.S. and global asset management firms whose combined assets under management exceed $45 trillion. The clients of SIFMA AMG member firms include, among others, tens of millions of individual investors, registered investment companies, endowments, public and private pension funds, UCITS and private funds such as hedge funds and private equity funds. For more information, visit http://www.sifma.org/amg. SIFMA AMG appreciates the assistance of Michael Littenberg, Marc Rotter and Kate Donohue of Ropes & Gray LLP in the preparation of this response.
2 The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors Release No. 33-11042, 87 Fed. Reg. 21,334 (proposed Apr. 11, 2022), https://www.sec.gov/rules/proposed/2022/33-11042.pdf (the “Proposing Release”).
3 SIFMA AMG acknowledges and appreciates the Commission’s extension to the original proposed comment period but still believes that complex rule proposals should be given longer comment periods upon publication to allow sufficient time to provide fulsome analysis and feedback. See Joint Comment Letter from SIFMA & SIFMA AMG on the “Importance of Appropriate Length of Comment Periods” (Apr. 5, 2022), https://www.sifma.org/resources/submissions/importance-of-appropriate-length-of-comment-periods.
4 Proposing Release at 13. The discussion in the Proposing Release regarding materiality is in some cases inconsistent with traditional standards of materiality. As discussed in this comment letter, the adopting release for the proposed rules, this commentary should be revised to conform to existing Supreme Court and Commission precedent. See, e.g., Basic Inc. v. Levinson; 485 U.S. 224 (1988); TSC Industries, Inc. v. Northway, Inc., 426 U. S. 438 (1977); SEC Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 99, Release No. SAB 99 (Aug. 12, 1999), available at https://www.sec.gov/interps/account/sab99.htm#body1 (last visited May 3, 2022); Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations; Certain Investment Company Disclosures, Exchange Act Release No. 33-6835 (May 18, 1989), available at https://www.sec.gov/rules/interp/33-6835.htm.